COLUMBUS – To make it to the NHL, not only do you need an abundance of skill, but also a certain intuitiveness – commonly known as hockey sense – to go along with it.
Free agent addition Mikkel Boedker is still adjusting to San Jose’s style of play, after he spent his first eight seasons in the league in Arizona and, briefly, Colorado. He still finds himself thinking things through on the ice and wondering if he's in the right place, but that hasn’t stopped the 26-year-old from having an immediate impact on a line with Logan Couture and Joonas Donskoi.
Not only has that line generated one even strength goal in each of the first two games, including Boedker’s goal on Saturday and Brent Burns’ game-winner on Wednesday against the Kings, they lead the Sharks in possession as the players with the three highest shot-attempt percentages.
“There’s still some times you feel a little lost maybe, where you’ve got to think twice about what they said on the [dry-erase] board,” Boedker said. “When it’s a game situation you’re playing on your instinct most of the time, and so far my instincts have been pretty good, I guess.”
Boedker scored his first goal in teal on Saturday in Columbus, giving the Sharks a first period lead that they would not relinquish in a 3-2 win. He floated towards the net as Couture retrieved a puck along the wall, and after Couture flicked it towards the goalkeeper, it bounced around and ended up on the left winger’s stick in the circle. He found just enough room under Sergei Bobrovsky’s glove hand.
“It’s nice to score and help the team get the lead and all that,” said Boedker, who had 17 goals last season. “I think that was definitely a good one to get out of the way.”
Pete DeBoer said: “I thought that line was pretty good again. Him in particular created quite a bit of stuff, and could have had at least another [goal] or set up a couple guys. He was one of our better guys tonight.”
Boedker said that communication with Couture and Donskoi has been key.
“I think we’ve played well together, and a lot of talking and a lot of helping each other out. It’s a key component to the success we’ve had the last two games here,” he said.