The Sharks put an end to their three-game skid with a solid 3-0 win over a top Washington team at Verizon Center on Tuesday night. Three takeaways from the win, which moves San Jose (7-6-0) back over the .500 mark…
1 – Jones rebounds
No, not the bad kind of goalie rebounds. Martin Jones responded from getting pulled for the first time this season on Saturday against Pittsburgh by making 24 saves for his first shutout of the year. Justin Williams had the best looks, finishing with four shots on goal, but Jones made a pair of impressive saves on him including one spectacular right pad stop that preserved the Sharks’ 2-0 lead. The Sharks’ starter lowered his goals-against average to 2.33, while improving his save percentage (.909). That looks much better than the 2.56 GAA and .900 SP he began the night with.
2 – Road trip begins well
Joel Ward admitted on Sunday that the Sharks aren’t likely to win all six games on their road trip, like they impressively did last season in November. Still, getting that first win under their belt is important, as they face some pretty tough competition in Florida and Tampa Bay in their next two games. They have a chance now to build some momentum.
It’s also impressive in that the Sharks only flew across the country on Monday, as adjusting to a three-hour time change on such short notice can be difficult. The Caps should have been the more rested team, wrapping up a three-game homestand, but that apparently didn’t help. This was probably the Sharks' most impressive win of the still young season.
3 – Labanc makes his NHL debut
Sharks coach Pete DeBoer wasted no time in plugging rookie Kevin Labanc into the lineup, putting him in a scoring role alongside Logan Couture and Joonas Donskoi. The good news was Labanc stayed on the line for the entire game, looking comfortable in 13 minutes and 23 seconds of ice time while registering one shot (early in the first). He did, however, take a tripping minor at 13:48 of the third period when the game was still within reach for Washington.
Lebanc’s place in the top six could be seen as a message, too, to other scoring wingers on the Sharks that simply haven’t been putting the puck in the net. Those slumps continue, as both of San Jose's goals came from defensemen (Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Brent Burns).