Tim Kennedy led the San Jose Sharks in shots on goal for the second straight game on Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues. This time, it led to a 2-1 victory and the first win for the Sharks in eight games.
It had been quite a seven-game stretch for the Sharks. After starting the year 7-0-0, San Jose lost seven straight games to fall right back down to earth. The problem for the team was not the defense, however, which has been by far the most consistent aspect of the Sharks' game this season. It is the offense that has struggled, and Tuesday’s win over the Blues was a mere consolation prize. San Jose could muster just two goals against a tired Blues team with their backup goalie in net.
The Sharks power play continued to struggle as well, going 0-of-4 against the 23rd-ranked penalty kill in the NHL.
Enter Kennedy, who was clearly dominating the AHL in Worcester, leading the team in both goals (13) and assists (24) through 37 games. Although turning to a 26-year-old journeyman such as Kennedy is not the ideal move for San Jose, it is a sign of where things are with the offense. They need anything at the moment to put pucks in the net, and calling up the young player on his third team in five seasons signaled a bit of desperation to end the losing streak.
Kennedy has supplied that “anything” through the three games he has been up in San Jose. He has scored two goals in as many games and was even placed on the power play with Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski on Tuesday. It led to a great chance in front for Kennedy, but no goal.
Head coach Todd McLellan has been impressed with Kennedy's play through three games, per Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's Kevin Kurz.
“He’s been a sparkplug for us. He’s got some offensive instincts,” the head coach said. “But, before that happens, he’s a very competitive guy. Not the biggest guy in the world, but battles, wins a lot of the races to loose pucks, he has good body position and is prepared to shoot the puck. He got rewarded for it again tonight.”
Kennedy does something names like Thornton, Marleau, Pavelski and Couture do not, however. Getting confident pucks to the net has been at a premium during the losing streak, and through just two games, Kennedy has led the Sharks. Against Chicago on Friday, Kennedy led the team with four shots on goal, and on Tuesday against the Blues, he led with five shots on net. Both games resulted in goals for Kennedy, and a win for the Sharks on the road against the Blues.
Whether or not this is the beginning of a trend for Kennedy is up to debate, but he appears unafraid on the ice, playing a rather confident style of hockey. The confidence set up major scoring chances for San Jose on Tuesday, albeit against a tired Blues team that spent 15 hours in the Vancouver airport the night before.
Take from it what you will, but Kennedy has provided a spark for the Sharks since being called up from Worcester. He has been a rather bright spot for a team that has played two different levels of hockey during just a short amount of time in a very short season.
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