Tag Archives: Matt Irwin

Sharks actually look good, win a game

15 Mar

Brent Burns being awesome.

Hey, the Sharks just won a game. In regulation. Against the defending Stanley Cup champs. Their struggling offense scored four goals. All lines were fast, energetic, and physical. Niemi played great the entire game. Brent Burns looked amazing in his second game up at forward.

This is the Sharks team we’ve all been waiting to see.

The forechecking came alive. Brent Burns had three amazing steals in the offensive zone that led to three high quality chances, two of which went in the net. The defense got involved in the scoring. Hell, even Douglas Murray had a nice chance on a backhand wrap-around.

It was definitely an exciting game from start to finish, but I’m feeling left with more questions now than answers.

How long will Brent Burns stay at forward?

It’s scary how good he was up front against the Kings. He’s got a big body that’s hard to push around, he’s established chemistry with Logan Couture, and because of his defensive acumen, he’s able to jump back when needed, allowing the defensemen to pinch up on the play. Wow, seriously, I don’t know when he’ll head back to D, but I’m loving him up front right now.

Is Burns the cure for the lack of secondary scoring?

The Sharks scored four goals against the defending Stanley Cup champs, and drove their Conn Smythe goaltender out of net in the process. Burns was active on three goals, getting himself a goal and an assist in the process. He had another fantastic chance off of a steal that he almost knocked in.

Matt Irwin has stepped up as well, and looks like he will no doubt take the torch from Dan Boyle, firing pucks on net from the point. He’s got a huge blast, and already has three goals this season.

The rest of the team? Still not so hot.

Clowe, Sheppard, Burish, Handzus, Wingels, Kennedy, Gomez, and Galliardi have a combined eight goals this season. Hell, even Havlat has three goals. While it’s exciting to see Burns going at the rate he is, it’s tough to look at this team and not be concerned about staying in games without more scoring from unlikely sources.

What kind of fight does this team have?

The most concerning thing I saw in this game was the lack of fight from the Sharks once they got a comfortable lead. They went in to the third period up 3-1, and they came out flat. They stopped playing the physical game that got them the lead in the first place, and instead looked like they were on the penalty kill. They were complacent, they looked tired, and they lacked the urgency to score, even when the Kings made a late push.

This passive style has been the norm this season for the Sharks. They need to figure out how to play a full game, an intense, physical, sharp 60 minutes. Against the Kings, they played 45 minutes at best. Without some luck on the power play and Brent Burns’ crazy forechecking, I think the Sharks walk out of the Tank with zero points.

This was a great game, and a much needed win and confidence boost for the Sharks, but this is only the beginning. Saturday is a big test to see what kind of fight this team has.

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March Madness: the good and not so good from this weekend

11 Mar

blues player tackles sharks player

The Sharks continued their usual up and down rollercoaster style of play this weekend, playing against a tough Blues team and a Colorado Avalanche squad who finally ended the Blackhawks’ historic run. All three teams are fighting for position in a tight Western Conference, meaning every point is critical.

There was some good and some bad from this weekend. So let’s just get right into it.

Good: The Sharks scored three goals in a game.

The offense got going against the Blues, putting up three goals, and going into the third period up 3-1.

Not so good: The Blues scored four, including the overtime winner.

Antti Niemi had six minutes of poor goaltending. It was arguably his only bad six minutes all season. Unfortunately, it led to two St. Louis goals, and he was quickly yanked in favor of backup, Alex Stalock. You have to wonder though if TMac makes that call if Greiss is still in the lineup…

Good: Scott Gomez got it going against the Blues.

Gomez is playing well right now, getting his second goal in three games and an assist against the Blues.

Not so good: Ryane Clowe is still struggling.

Clowe is set to have a breakout game soon, right? Right now, he’s doing two things: generating chances and turning over the puck. Unfortunately, I saw the turnover machine operating at full speed this weekend.

Good: Niemi bounced back against the Avs.

Niemi looked good against Colorado, making huge save after huge save, and helped the Sharks battle back from a 2-0 deficit.

Not so good: The offense didn’t.

Again, the offense managed to get no more than two goals, while going 0-5 on the power play.

Good: The Sharks got two points.

Not so good: The points both came in overtime losses, giving opponents valuable points in a tight race.

Additional Notes:

Tommy Wingels is back, and looks fantastic up on the top line with Thornton and Couture. He brings the speed and tenacity that is needed in the top six. Matt Irwin looks like the real deal. He’s playing solid defense and has a straight up canon from the point. I hope he stays in the lineup long term. With Irwin playing well, the Sharks have an excess of outstanding defensemen. It looks like it might be time to try to move some pieces to add offense.

Next game is at St. Louis on Tuesday. A win would be nice. Let’s go Sharks.

Sharks hope to turn it around against Colorado

26 Feb

Dan Boyle skates against a Colorado defensemen.

If there’s a must-win game for the Sharks in this shortened season, it’s this one.

The Sharks are back in HP Pavilion where they are 5-1-2 on the season. They’re playing a Colorado Avalanche team ranked 14th in the Western Conference with 16 points (although to be fair, the Sharks sit at 9th in the West with 19 points). They shut out the Avs 4-0 in the Tank back on January 26. The Sharks haven’t scored more than two goals in seven games, and were shut out twice in that span.

Of course, the last time these two teams met, the Sharks’ offense was cranking at an insane pace, and Patrick Marleau was on his incredible goal scoring streak.

Needless to say, things have changed since.

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