by Ivan Makarov
SAN JOSE, CA — A lot of things went right for the Sharks in their preseason game against Vancouver Canucks at SAP Center on Tuesday night.
They got plenty of scoring chances which resulted in a lot of goals. They limited the Canucks scoring chances to close to nothing, which helped Antti Niemi earn a shutout. They avoided the penalty box all night. Their lines seems to gel well together. And they won their game 5-0.
“Once we established [the pace of the game], we were on puck, we were hard,” said happy Sharks head coach Todd McLellan after the game. “The special teams were great tonight.”
Of course, it was just a preseason game with very little on the line. But even then, the coaches are watching and are experimenting with player combinations, tactics and special teams, building the foundation for a long season ahead.
Sharks rookie Tomas Heart opened the score early in the game at 10:37 of the first period. Deep inside the Canucks zone, Scott Hannan shot the puck from a sharp angle just outside the center circle, allowing Hertl, who stood right in front of the net, and puck went off him into the net. This was Hertl’s second goal of the preseason, as he’s getting great looks playing on the top line alongside Joe Thornton and Brent Burns.
Dan Boyle increased the Sharks lead to 2-0 three minutes as he scored on a wrist shot from a pass from Tyler Kennedy as he joined the attack. Kennedy did all the work on that goal, hitting the goalpost earlier, and keeping the puck inside the zone after it rebounded off Canucks goaltender Eddie Lack and then finding Boyle wide open.
Once it started to rain, it began to pour.
Joe Thornton added third goal for the Sharks half way through the second period after he scored on a one timer after a pass by Patrick Marleau on the Sharks power play.
Logan Couture added to the scoreboard on yet another Sharks power play with less then a minute remaining in the second period. Standing right between the face-off circles, he got a quick pass form Joe Pavelski, and fired it on goal and into the net with his signature wrist shot. That made it 4-0 for the Sharks.
This marked two power play goals for the Sharks top power play unit, which McLellan mentioned will stay intact. The second unit had its chances, but McLellan indicated he’ll continue to change who’s playing there.
Thomas Hertl made another case that he belongs in the NHL and on the Sharks top line when he never gave up on the play in the Canucks zone at the start of the third period, and kept on fighting for the puck, eventually putting it in with a wrester, scoring his second of the night, and Sharks’ fifth goal that made it 5-0 for the home team.
“He’s good around the net,” said Sharks captain Joe Thornton when asked about his thoughts on Hertl’s play so far in the preseason. “He scored around the net in the last game too. He’s very competitive. He just goes to the net and is not afraid of that area.”
As for the Canucks, they looked disorganized, undisciplined, and almost as if they didn’t want to play in that game. They did not look like a team that will be competing for a playoff spot next season.