VANCOUVER – Unlike most of his teammates, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski didn’t get any time off for the All-Star break at the end of January. Probably not coincidentally his production dried up for a bit, with one just goal in the first 12 games after the festivities in Nashville.
He’s back to his old self lately, though, with three goals, two assists and 13 shots on goal in his last two games. He still leads the Sharks with 29 goals and 61 points.
“Talk about a guy who we rely on for every situation, heavy minutes, and he hasn’t had a break,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “I think it was more just getting his batteries recharged, giving him some time off. Keeping him off the ice as much as possible to get him recharged a little bit.”
Pavelski indicated he felt fine with his game right after the break, but then hit a bump in the road.
“The first four or five games after the All-Star break I kind of shook my head a few times I didn’t score. … Had some games where I thought I could have had two or three and came away empty handed, and then all of a sudden you run into a few games where you don’t do anything,” he said. “The awesome part about that was watching the depth on our team really take over and carry us.”
He’s felt good in the last two games, as the scoresheet would suggest.
“For sure. Definitely feel like I’m around the net a little bit more again,” Pavelski said.
According to CSN stats guru Darin Stephens, with Pavelski’s next goal, he will become the only NHL player to record at least 30 goals and 30 assists four times since 2011-12.
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James Reimer hit the ice with his new teammates for the first time on Thursday, after sorting out the immigration issues following his acquisition from Toronto last Saturday. He stayed out with scratched players Karlsson and Dylan DeMelo and assistant/goalie coach Johan Hedberg for approximately 20-30 extra minutes at Rogers Arena.
“I know he hadn’t been on the ice in a couple days, so it’s nice to get him on the ice,” DeBoer said. “He’ll get a good workout here today with Johan Hedberg, and we’ll go from there.”
Pavelski joked that the Sharks welcomed Reimer with “a few high shots this morning.”
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Micheal Haley will play against Vancouver on Thursday in place of Melker Karlsson, who took the morning skate but is dealing with a minor, unspecified injury. Karlsson said he doesn’t expect to be out for long after an accidental run-in with teammate Paul Martin in Monday’s win over Montreal.
In eight games with the Sharks this season, Haley is scoreless with 20 penalty minutes and a minus-two rating. He has 20 points (13g, 7a) in 36 games with the Barracuda.
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Canucks coach Willie Desjardins saw his club surrender four third period goals to the Sharks last Sunday in a 4-1 loss, but didn’t seem overly displeased with the Canucks’ effort in that game.
“They got a couple breaks early in the third. Those two were just two shots and they went in. It seems a little bit how it’s going this year, that’s happening.”
Pavelski and Tomas Hertl scored third period goals less than three minutes apart to give San Jose a 2-1 lead, and Patrick Marleau’s five-on-three goal essentially put it away.
“We took ourselves out with the penalties,” Desjardins said. “It wasn’t that they were dumb penalties. We were trying. We weren’t undisciplined, or whatever. But we dug ourselves a hole, it went 3-1, and then you’re scrambling.”
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Desjardins also offered his take on Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who was named to Canada’s World Cup team on Wednesday.
“He’s good. Every time I see him, I like him more. He’s a good player. He sees the ice well. He’s just getting better. Last game I saw him, I didn’t realize he was quite that good, but he’s putting himself up into an upper group of players, for sure.”