Well, there it is. After four arduous games, the Sharks finally got their first win of the 2019-20 campaign.
San Jose got better and better as Thursday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks went on, with the Sharks' third period perhaps being the most dominant 20 minutes of hockey they've played in the early part of the season.
But Team Teal knows there is still work to be done if the Sharks are going to rebound from that dismal four-loss start. There are mistakes the team still has to eradicate and adjustments that still need to be made. At least after getting a much-needed victory, the Sharks have something positive to build off of.
"I still think there's a lot to fix," Brent Burns admitted to the media after San Jose's exciting 5-4 win in the Windy City. "But (we've) definitely come a long way and we're playing much better."
Head coach Peter DeBoer summarized the game by saying it "still wasn't the 60 minutes" the team is looking for. However, the tail end encouraged him.
"The best part of it was that the last 20 minutes, we played really well," DeBoer said. "So that was a really good sign. The third period was maybe the best period we've played all year."
Defense remains an issue for the Sharks, who didn't give Aaron Dell the help he needed through the first 40 minutes of the game.
On the flip side, Dell made a few huge saves that kept Chicago's potent offense from running up the score -- especially in the final minute of play when the Blackhawks tried to tie things up and he sprawled out in every direction to keep the puck out of the crease.
"That's what we need out of him," DeBoer said. "He made some key saves at key times. I think both teams were a bit loose and he made one more save than the other guy. And sometimes that's all you need."
It didn't hurt that San Jose's offense finally got going to even things out. Fueled by a two-goal return from Patrick Marleau, the Sharks' offense did a better job keeping the puck in the offensive zone and keeping the pressure on Chicago netminder Corey Crawford. As the game went on, the egregious turnovers began to diminish.
Heck, the Sharks scored just as many goals in Thursday's game as they did in the previous four games combined. That's a big step in the right direction.
"A little more traffic in front of the net, and just finishing our chances," Joe Thornton explained. "That's the bottom line. We haven't been finishing out chances. I think we finished a little bit better tonight."
With the first win of the season finally under their belts, have the Sharks done a 180-degree turn that will propel them in the right direction going forward?
"I hope so, it looked good tonight," Thornton said.