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SAN JOSE –- There was a dramatic uptick in the pace, physicality and skill level on the second day of intra-squad scrimmaging for the Sharks on Sunday.
Among the notable plays was a gorgeous breakaway goal by Matt Nieto over Alex Stalock’s shoulder, set up by a pass from Patrick Marleau.
Daniil Tarasov strengthened his case for making the opening night roster with a pair of markers, earning praise from the head coach.
John Scott and Taylor Doherty had a run-in, and after dropping the gloves and grabbing one another, decided it was in their best interests to not throw any punches. Brent Burns and Tyler Kennedy mixed it up along the wall, and late in the game there was a large 10-man scrum behind one of the nets.
Six goals in all were scored, including markers from Joe Pavelski, Matt Irwin and Matt Tennyson in a 4-2 final.
Todd McLellan enjoyed the show.
“A little more competitive, and harder. I think we saw that, which is natural,” McLellan said. “Guys are now comfortable in their surroundings a little bit more, and they realize days are getting shorter and we’ve got to play a game in a couple nights. They’re adjusting their games accordingly."
“We made it clear that we’re going to make some decisions fairly quick. So, they need to take advantage of the time they’re given, and I think today they did that.”
The Sharks open their preseason schedule with a split-squad game with the Canucks on Tuesday. Expect the first roster cuts to come after those two tilts.
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Tarasov, a 23-year-old candidate to make the team, was among the players who improved from Saturday’s first scrimmage.
McLellan commented: “He’s a year older. He’s experienced a year in pro. That’s a natural progression for him. I thought today he stood out more than he did yesterday, and not just because of the goals. He was more involved, he had the puck more, he made some plays. He was involved physically. It was nice to see that.
“He’s put in a lot of time here in the summer trying to get healthy, and maybe it’s paying off for him.”
Tarasov was limited to 47 games in AHL Worcester with various injuries, including a problematic groin.
“We think he’s in the right spot in his development curve," McLellan said. "Will he still need more time? He’ll let us know that over the next two-three weeks.”
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Nikolay Goldobin is enjoying his first professional training camp after the Sharks made him the 27th overall choice in the 2014 draft.
“I can’t wait until the game against Vancouver,” Goldobin said.
As for the scrimmages, Goldobin said: “The first game was hard for me. Now I feel good, pretty comfortable.”
It’s unlikely that Goldobin, 18, will make the roster, especially if Tarasov or someone else emerges. It’s only been three days, though, so a true evaluation of the baby-faced rookie is difficult.
“The difference between Nikolay and Daniil is we have a track record now with Daniil,” McLellan said. “We’ve got a past and can see if he’s made strides. We’re still developing a baseline for Goldobin. That will take some time.”