The San Jose Sharks found themselves in hockey's mecca of Toronto on Thursday night. In the midst of a season high four-game losing streak, they were in desperate need for a win. And they did not disappoint.
A pair of goals by Patrick Marleau gave the Sharks the 2-1 victory, and an overall record of 2-4-1 on the current 9 game road trip.
Despite a goalless first period, signs of hope could be seen all over the ice for the Sharks. Most notably in their goaltender Antti Niemi, as he appeared to be in sensational form, making several top notch saves.
Niemi's work in net also appeared to have an effect on his teammates, as the Sharks' scorers bombarded Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer for the majority of the contest.
While the majority of this road trip has been dominated by Rick Nash trade rumors, the Sharks kept their focus on the ice Thursday night and came out with a well deserved victory. Their power play once again proved to be an extreme plus for the club, as it tallied them their first goal.
But just because the Sharks won the game, it doesn't mean there weren't areas they still showed weakness in.
In a world of 60-minute hockey, the Sharks are still only playing 40 to 50 minutes and seem to be just doing enough to ensure a victory.
While a victory is what you want, that 10 minutes where their play slips can prove futile. And it almost did Thursday, when Niemi made not one but two tremendous saves against two of the Leafs' top scorers, Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul, as the clock wound down.
All in all it was a good performance by the Sharks, and they did what they had to do.
With two games remaining on the current road trip against Nashville and Minnesota, they have a chance to get the road record to .500. And I'm sure it's something they would want to do with Phoenix and Los Angeles breathing down their necks.
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