The excitement from the return of the NHL is still fresh in the fans mouths. The excitement Sharks fans have been feeling continues to savor the fans and didn’t hesitate as the Sharks picked up their fourth straight victory of the season in their fourth game against Colorado on Saturday afternoon.
Since the puck has dropped for the Sharks, all eyes have been focused on captain Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. Thornton has been among the league-leaders in points since the start of the season, and with eight goals now on the stat sheet, Marleau has become the first player since 1917 to register two goals in each of the first four games of the season.
Controversy flooded the game early when newly re-minted Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart put a slobberknocker of a hit on Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog. The hit created lots of commotion on the ice, racking up a total of 24 penalty minutes. During post-game interviews, Stuart, Landeskog, Sharks coach Todd McLellan and Avalanche coach Joe Sacco were all asked whether they thought the hit warranted further attention from the NHL disciplinary committee, and surprisingly, the only person who thought the hit needed a closer look was the Avalanche coach.
Saturday’s afternoon contest also marked the firsts for a couple of other players on the Sharks roster. Rookie defenseman Matt Irwin scored his first NHL goal, and newly signed Scott Gomez made his debut in teal. It’s no secret that I was probably more skeptical than any of the signing of Gomez, but with over 15 minutes of playing time against a group of Avalanche players mostly 10 years his junior, it’s gone from a topic of skepticism in him to skepticism in who the Canadiens were putting around him during his tenure in Montreal. Gomez looked more than stellar and didn’t appear to have lost a step from the last time I used to watch him regularly…when he was playing for the New Jersey Devils.
Finally, with the Sharks playing a weekend of back-to-backs, regular goalie Antti Niemi received a day off to rest for the contest against the Canucks on Sunday, and Thomas Greiss registered his first career NHL shutout. All in all, the Sharks team I’ve seen on the ice this year so far is a team with fluid I haven’t seen since 2006. Only better. It’s more than obvious that they’re firing on all cylinders. Here’s hoping they can keep it going.