Behind a brilliant four-point first period from Joe Thornton, San Jose exploded to a 4-0 lead on the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs, defeated their old coach, and most importantly, posted their 43rd point in 25 games, tying the 1943-44 Montreal Canadiens for the best start in NHL history. The victory was the Sharks eighth in a row.
Fun game last night. The Sharks basically spanked the Leafs early and put it in autopilot. The two goals came about mostly because the Sharks mentally went and took their showers early. It really was man vs. boy for a lot of the game. At times in the past, the Sharks have struggled with managing leads, last night, they very much played a “red wings” style run out the clock game.
That was kinda my point in my posting last night. The Leafs scored mostly because the Sharks didn’t really care if they did, and the few Leafs fans willing to stick around to the end (most left, the first large chunk in the 2nd period, along with the first wave of Sharks fans) really shouldn’t have seen that as a “YEAH! LEAFS RULE!” moment.
Still, a fun game. Just not really ever close. Toskala had the yips early, and that pretty much set up the show for the night.
Now, having said that…
Lots of fans and media pundits have looked at the Sharks and said “hey, it only matters what they do in the playoffs”. They’re right — and I’ve said that to some degree as well.
If you use that as an excuse to not pay attention to the Sharks during the regular season, you’re missing one hell of a hockey team. This team is rolling. In case people haven’t noticed, Joe Thornton’s on a 2 point a game pace the last 7 or 8 games (and last night? A goal and three assists. yawn. Another night in the office). This team is impressive as hell, and really making notable waves, even for a team who’s the definition of “the regular season doesn’t matter”.
It may not matter, but the Sharks are making it matter by playing this well. If you are waiting for the playoffs to watch them, you’re going to miss a lot of really good hockey….