Returning from an ACL injury, Tomas Hertl is back like he never left.
The San Jose Sharks themselves are off to a mediocre start, winning their home opener and then falling short in the next two matchups.
However, in both games against the Yotes and the first showdown against the Blues, Hertl has shown tremendous promise. In the game one shootout victory, he notched two goals and one assist, accounting for most if not all of the team’s offense.
In his post-game interview, he made it very clear how important that first power-play goal was to the team’s overall goals moving forward.
“It’s nice because last year we were really struggling, we were always two goals behind,” Hertl said. “It was tough because everytime you would think things would open up and you would get more goals. [This time] it was nice to get two early goals. Especially in the power play, because we know we have to be better. We believe [that we are capable] of having a top-five power play easily, so it was nice to get that first power play goal.”
If there is one thing Sharks fans know, it is that the Czech forward is not lacking in confidence in any capacity. After an abysmal season a year ago, it is refreshing to see the team set high goals for themselves, even if it is unclear whether they are attainable.
His swagger continued into the second game of the season, where he scored yet another goal, marking his third of the season. Unfortunately, the team ultimately fell to the Coyotes 5-3 in their second game of the back to back.
Traveling to St. Louis, Hertl did not find the back of the net for the first time this season. However, he remained dominant, notching two assists in the game, raising his point total to six on the season.
But many of the positives Sharks fans saw in the game against the Blues were overshadowed by the fact that the team let the game slip away, giving up four goals in the second period and ultimately losing the game 5-4.
Nevertheless, the end result should not distract from the fact that Hertl is potentially on the cusp of a career year. This is only the second time he has accounted for six or more points through the season’s first three games.
The first was his first season back in 2013, where he famously scored four goals in his third career game and instantly became a fan favorite.
As the Sharks look ahead to the second game of the back to back against the Blues, it will be fascinating to see if he can maintain this pace.
According to dailyfaceoff.com, the trio stand as the fourth-best second-line in all of hockey. But can they prove it both on the eye test and in consensus amongst the NHL community?
I guess we’ll have to wait and see.