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Thoughts and Observations During The Sharks Winning Streak

SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 02: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks congratulates Patrick Marleau #12 after Marleau scored a goal in the second period against the Edmonton Oilers at HP Pavilion on January 2, 2010 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
The Oracle SFContributor IJanuary 4, 2010

So the Sharks have now won eight in a row.  I know they had a rough patch of games where they were struggling last month, but they are clearly on a roll right now. I went to the Anaheim and Edmonton games, and watched the others on TV. I have several thoughts on the recent performance of the team and I thought I'd share them and get some feedback.

1) The Heatley trade is clearly paying off.  It has really solidified the top line.  Both he and Marleau are two of the top goal scorers in the league this year, and Thornton is at or near the top in both points and assists.  The other thing that this trade has done is moved Settegouchi and Pavelski into the second line where they can flourish together.

2) The whole team defense is much improved.  They defend the pass well, block shots when needed, and the big one:  They have a much stronger penalty kill unit.

3) This team destroyed Washington this past week, which is one of the top teams in the east.  They then came right back the next night and "stole" a win in Phoenix.

4) The team is really starting to get contributions from the third and fourth lines. This is where I think the real difference in this team lies.  In previous years, they've always had to rely on the big boys for all the points.  This year it seems that everyone is doing their part to contribute, make hits and create scoring chances.

5) The team has a fore check now!!!   I never used to see the team make hits while in the offensive zone.  They seem to get a few of these hits every game now.

6) The team doesn't seem to lose momentum with line changes.  When the puck is put on net, they do a much better job of keeping it in the zone, regardless of who is on the ice.

This win streak has been very fun to watch.  Let's hope their success continues well into the Spring and Summer!!

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