SAN JOSE – There was a statistical oddity on Monday night, as far as the Sharks’ season is concerned, when they beat the Penguins in overtime, 2-1.
For just the second time this season, the Sharks won a game in which one of their top five scorers did not score a goal. Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau and Brent Burns were all kept off the scoresheet, but a regulation goal by Matt Nieto allowed the Sharks to push the Penguins to a tiebreaker, which they won in eight rounds.
The only previous time that happened was a 2-1 regulation win over the Flyers on Dec. 2, when Nieto and Marc-Edouard Vlasic were the scorers.
Pavelski leads the Sharks in scoring with 61 points. He’s followed by Thornton (57), Couture (55), Burns (49) and Marleau (48).
“It’s an alarming stat when they don’t get on the board,” McLellan said.
Even in the shootout, the Sharks got goals from different players. Melker Karlsson and Tommy Wingels each scored their first career goals in the skills competition, allowing the Sharks to remain in the playoff race.
Those extra points are going to be vital down the stretch as the Sharks remain three points out of a playoff spot headed into Thursday night's game. That’s probably why they have been practicing those shootout moves towards the end of most practices these days.
In fact, that’s why McLellan turned to Karlsson on Monday as his third shooter, despite the rookie only having one previous shootout opportunity, which he failed to convert on.
“We’re throwing a few different shooters out almost every day at the end of practice now, and that’s where we were aware that Melker had some shifty moves and why we went to him,” McLellan said. “It’s purely based on practice, which is what it’s for.”