SAN JOSE – Well, if one thing can be said about Thursday’s Jets-Sharks game, it was beyond entertaining. There were big goals, crazy plays, and a nasty fight all within just the first 20 minutes.
The first meeting of the season between these two teams was a non-stop thrill ride, showcasing one of the grittiest performances we’ve seen from the Sharks yet. It looked as though the contest might go into overtime, but a defensive breakdown with just a little over three minutes left in regulation wound up in the back of San Jose’s net, and in the end they fell 5-3.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
Cutback on penalties? Yeah, that didn’t happen. After a strong of games with virtually no penalties at all, San Jose took a trip to the sin bin just 19 seconds into the contest – not good when you’re going up against the best power play in the whole NHL.
However, the Sharks' penalty kill reigned supreme. Had the PK not been as on point as it was, the Jets could’ve run away with the game. Similarly, Winnipeg spent a fair share of time going to the box, and San Jose was able to capitalize on the power play in the first frame.
All in all, the Sharks’ special teams had an impact on this one.
When Kane has himself a game: Evander Kane was on absolute fire against his former team, tallying a goal and an assist. While his first-period goal was quite impressive, the way he set up Joonas Donskoi’s game-tying goal in the second – Donskoi’s 100th career point, no less – was perhaps even better.
Kane continued his push into the third frame. With the score tied up 3-3 almost halfway through the period, he charged his way up the side of the ice, leaving a couple of Jets’ skaters in his wake in an effort to find the back of the net. Unfortunately for the Sharks, he wasn’t able to do it again.
A good ‘measuring stick game’? Many thought Thursday’s contest that facing the Jets would be a big test for the Sharks. They hadn’t gone up against a team of Winnipeg’s caliber over the course of their winning streak – and they sure as heck would’ve struggled if the Jets were on the schedule in November while San Jose was struggling.
No matter the outcome, Thursday’s game was pure entertainment. Plus, it was clear the Sharks could keep up with a team like Winnipeg that plays as fast as they play heavy.
Heck, just think what it would be like if these two teams met up in the playoffs.