This team is streaky. After starting the season with six straight wins, the San Jose Sharks have been up and down, but still mostly up. They have won three in a row going into their contest with the Blackhawks and are an offensive juggernaut that is also among the best defensive teams in the league. To put it simply, they are pretty darn good. This could easily be an article about much of the roster and as you’ll see below, I cheated just a bit in the regular three stars format. Here are three San Jose Sharks to keep an eye on this Sunday:
3. Tomas Hertl: So far he is the rookie of the year in the NHL. His 12 goals are among the league leaders and he has gotten himself on some early season highlight reels, including a pair of SportsCenter Top 10 appearances. He has amazing skills with the puck and can score without needing to be setup by teammates. Blackhawk defenders will have to get real physical with him and make sure this kid doesn’t get the puck with too much space to work.
2. Antti Niemi, Alex Stalock: I am assuming Niemi will be in net, but if he isn’t, Stalock deserves to be recognized for his recent stretch of play. Since joining the Sharks, Niemi has been one of the top goaltenders in the league and has had an exceptional season. Stalock has played four games this year and is yet to lose, or give up more than two goals in any of his starts. I am sure Niemi likes playing against his old team for some retribution and we will get a great show with either of them in net.
1. Joe Thornton: 20 games, 20 assists (With six assists coming in his last four contests). Thornton continues to display excellent quarterbacking abilities and is on pace to set his second highest career mark in assists for the season. The knock on Thronton is his ability to play in the postseason, but I can assure you, playoffs or not, the ‘Hawks are focusing on taking Thornton out of the game and forcing his teammates to create for themselves.
There is no honorable mention, as I mentioned four players and don’t think I should push my luck (i.e. naming a quarter of their roster). The Sharks are 13-2-5 and are second in the Pacific Division. They are always one of the Blackhawks more dangerous opponents and their matchups feature some of the premiere talent in the game.
The San Jose Sharks visit the Chicago Blackhawks this Sunday at 7 PM EST.