Aaron Dell’s stellar season debut earns him back-to-back starts for Sharks

After Aaron Dell‘s stellar performance on Tuesday evening against the Philadelphia Flyers, Sharks fans were collectively wondering when the backup netminder would get another start between the pipes.

They didn’t have to wonder for long, as bench boss Peter DeBoer tapped Dell to start his second game in a row Thursday in New York against the Rangers.

DeBoer reportedly told the media Thursday morning Sharks starter Martin Jones is still the team’s “undisputed No. 1” and that the plan for Dell to start two games on the team’s five-game roadie was already in the game plan. Nevertheless, Dell’s dominant outing on Tuesday evening in Philly earned him the start in back-to-back contests.

Prior to his season debut against the Flyers, Dell had a standout start for the Sharks in the preseason. He made 23 saves in Team Teal’s 7-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in September. With a .939 save percentage after only allowing two goals in his season debut Tuesday, it’s no wonder DeBoer chose to put Dell back out there again against a New York Rangers team that has yet to get a win this season.

Dell had a rough outing at Madison Square Garden last season, allowing six goals on 29 shots as the Sharks fell to the Rangers 6-5 in a January 25 tilt. He followed that performance, however, with back-to-back wins against the Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers, respectively. Dell ended his 2017-18 campaign with a 15-5 record in 29 starts, registering a 2.64 goals-against average and .926 save percentage. 

The Sharks inked the University of North Dakota product to a two-year contract extension in February 2018. At the time of the signing, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson touted the 29-year-old netminder’s ability to give the team the best opportunity to win when he starts. “Aaron has met every challenge he has faced in his career head-on and our team is a confident group when he’s in the net,” Wilson said in a press release from the team. “He’s a very popular guy in the dressing room and we feel that Aaron and Martin (Jones) give us one of the top goaltending tandems in the League.”  

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