There wasn’t a lot of room out on the ice between the Sharks and the Minnesota Wild at the start of Tuesday evening's contest.
Then San Jose, broke through thanks to a two-goal evening from Logan Couture and a magnificent performance from goaltender Martin Jones. After a solid 60 minutes, the Sharks emerged victorious, 4-0.
Here are three takeaways from San Jose's fifth straight win:
Nice rebound for Jones: Jones needed a rebound performance on Tuesday evening. After a string of solid starts following his victory over the Canadiens in Montreal on Dec. 2, the netminder was pulled after giving up three goals on four shots Sunday in Chicago.
Jones didn’t just prevent those trickle-in goals that eluded him on Sunday. He stood tall against a Wild team that skated in low, and put plenty of pucks on net. He was particularly good when Minnesota began peppering him with shots in the start of the second period, keeping the Wild off the board.
Speaking of that frame …
Another stellar second stanza: This was the second game in a row where the Sharks have come alive in the second period. After a tight opening 20 minutes, San Jose tried to create some space for themselves. The result was Couture’s first goal on the evening, which was set up by an amazing behind-the-net pass from rookie winger Lukas Radil.
The stretch of strong second periods is a real testament to how much the Sharks have turned their overall game around. Instead of jumping out with a strong start and then getting relaxed, they’ve taken over the pace of the game. Plus, they’ve also stayed strong in the third period.
Quality apples: The goal-scorers usually get all the glory, but three of San Jose’s goals on Tuesday were owed to highlight-reel assists. Following Radil’s crafty pass to set up Couture’s game-opening goal, Tomas Hertl made an amazing saucer pass to Joe Pavelski, who notched the second goal on a breakaway 29 seconds after Couture's. Both of those goals manifested thanks to plays created by newcomer Radim Simek in the Sharks’ zone.
In the third period, Couture added to the Sharks' lead after receiving the puck from Hertl on a crazy play created by Erik Karlsson. Yes, the same Erik Karlsson who now has a six-game point streak.
The first two goals showed how much more defensively sound the Sharks are playing, and how they’re translating that into offensive production.