Antti Niemi

GIFs and notes from Pavelski’s hattrick and the Sharks’ power play explosion

scrivensWith two power play lines that look like the top half of an Olympic hockey team, the San Jose Sharks should have a better power play percentage than 15.8. It’s a fact that drives fans crazy: Team Teal earns a ton of man advantage opportunities and capitalizes on very few of them.

That wasn’t the case against in Tuesday night’s 5-2 beatdown of the Edmonton Oilers, however. The Sharks suffered from a slow start in the first period, perhaps due to the tired legs that a back-to-back on a road trip can create. It was a second period that featured three goals, two of which came on the power play, and an equally impressive third period from Joe Pavelski that lifted San Jose over the lowly Oilers.

In all, the Sharks were a perfect 3-for-3 on the power play, which begs the question: Are the incredibly-stacked-on-paper Sharks special teams finally living up to their potential, or are the Oilers truly awful?

The answer is probably somewhere in the middle, but those three power play goals were a sight to behold. Edmonton’s penalty kill — ranked 13th, which is neither putrid nor stellar — looked as listless as most PK units do against the Sharks. San Jose has appeared much less pass-happy than they have been in seasons past, which is to say that most of their power play opportunities leave you wondering when the law of averages is going to catch up with them. The top unit especially — which when healthy boasts Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Dan Boyle — has been about as dangerous as it gets without scoring.

Well, they scored tonight:

Despite taking an 0-1 deficit into the first period intermission, San Jose earned a power play early in the second. Pavelski opened up his four-point night by taking this slap shot off of the chest, recovering and finding Marleau for a beautiful one-timer.

Later in the second period, the roles switched. Marleau took the shot, Pavelski was in the same spot to clean up the trash.

Side note: with 30 seconds left in the second period Martin Havlat decided to get in the fun. This is quite a snipe, but honestly, what in the hell was Ben Scrivens doing there.

Pavelski’s second goal was actually his third chance to make something happen from the exact same spot on the ice, and this score was much prettier than his first. No-look, bar-down, goodnight.

Here’s Pavelski’s 37th goal of the season, and his third hattrick of the season after not having a single one up to this point in his career. The broken stick toss is the best part of the GIF.

So the Sharks played through the soreness, battled through adversity and wrote the narrative of this game for me by beating a team they should have beaten handily. They’re on the right track with only eight games left in the regular season. The Ducks have clinched a playoff spot. Now the Sharks have to clinch a higher seed.


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