Aaron Dell told NBC Sports California before the season that he wanted to pick his game up and earn more starts with the Sharks, leaving his previous campaign aside.
"Every year when you come in, the last year is kind of a wash, regardless of how it went," said the backup goalie, who went 10-8-4 with a 3.17 goals-against average and a .886 save percentage last season. "It's kind of a 'what have you done for me lately?' kind of thing."
Needless to say, what he's done lately has been pretty darned impressive.
Dell shined in the Sharks' 4-2 win over the Canadiens on Thursday night at Bell Centre, standing on his head at times to keep Montreal's speedy, stingy offense from taking over the game. That marks two consecutive starts in which San Jose has needed to halt a losing streak and Dell put his team in the win column.
So, does Dell believe he has earned more starts?
"I hope so," he told reporters at Bell Centre after the win. "I'm trying to."
While San Jose found the back of the net more times than its opponent Thursday, Montreal created the most chances and put Dell to work. He ended up stopping 35 out of 37 shots, and his rebound control was particularly strong, especially on a second-period penalty kill when he stopped a flurry on his glove side.
The plethora of shots might have seemed daunting to viewers. But, as Dell told reporters, he prefers the heavy workload.
"It was great. I had lots of work," he said. "You feel a little bit better when you get lots of shots."
According to Sharks coach Peter DeBoer, getting a performance like that in Montreal made Dell's showing even better.
"You need goaltending like that on the road," DeBoer said. "Especially in rinks like this where momentum can swing pretty quickly. He was our best player tonight."
Logan Couture agreed.
"He played excellent tonight," the captain said. "For a guy who hasn't played in a little while to come in and play that way was excellent."
The question now is if Dell, who's 2-1-0 with a 3.03 GAA and a .906 save percentage this season, will start again before the Sharks' road trip is over.
Martin Jones is all but confirmed for Friday's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs since San Jose is playing a back-to-back. But the Sharks have two more road games -- in Ottawa on Sunday and in Boston on Tuesday -- before returning home at the end of next week and playing a back-to-back against the Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks. Not surprisingly, the starter for those two final road games hasn't been chosen yet.
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It's already highly likely that Dell will start in one of next week's back-to-back home games. But could he also tend twine against the Senators or the Bruins before the Sharks come back to SAP Center?
After his latest outstanding outing, it certainly looks like a possibility.