Even before the regular season started, the state of the Sharks power play was a hot topic of conversation. Which, to an extent, is fair. San Jose was ranked 16th in the league on the man advantage last season, frequently going on stretches where it couldn’t find the back of the net.
So, when the team acquired Erik Karlsson, a scoring defenseman known for being a weapon on special teams, expectations for San Jose’s special teams soared. And then they were quickly slapped down as the Sharks went three games into the season with multiple chances on the man advantage and nothing to show for it.
They ended that drought on Tuesday night with two power play goals, one from each special teams unit. Does this mean San Jose’s power play woes are officially over? Probably not. But it’s certainly a start.
The Sharks special teams contains some heavy-hitters, including goal-scorers Logan Couture and Brent Burns. Yet after having the third best power play in the league during their 2015-2016, this group hasn’t had the same success. So it’s really no wonder they’ve put pressure on themselves to get better in that department. Especially once they added an asset like Karlsson into the mix.
San Jose was 0 for 10 on the power play before Tuesday’s tilt in Philadelphia, although they had a few good looks in their first three games of the season. The Sharks second unit was the more dominant force through the majority of the game however, particularly after Evander Kane tapped in the first power play goal of the season. San Jose’s top unit, however, did finally connect in the third period when Tomas Hertl tapped in a rebound off Karlsson’s shot.
Finally finding the back of the net all had to do with keeping things simple, Pavelski said. “There’s another level that this group can get to, and it was good to see (the top unit) get that last one.”
That confidence could be the start of San Jose power play going on an upswing.