Sharks grab hold of first place in the Western Conference


VANCOUVER, British Columbia — From not even close to best in the west in just 10 weeks.

The Sharks moved into first place in the Pacific Division and the Western Conference on Monday, leapfrogging the Calgary Flames and the Winnipeg Jets with 75 points by earning a 7-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. With the win, the Sharks completed their four-game road swing through Western Canada with a perfect record.

The Sharks move into the Western Conference’s penthouse puts an exclamation mark on a remarkable turnaround that started on Dec. 2 after the Sharks got thumped by the woeful Ottawa Senators in Erik Karlsson’s homecoming to his “forever city.”

Earlier in that trip, Logan Couture said the Sharks weren’t even close to being in the Stanley Cup conversation following a loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 28. Now, they’re at the forefront of those talks, posting a 22-6-2 since Dec. 2, leading the NHL in scoring by averaging 4.23 goals per game during that span.

The Sharks current six-game winning streak is even more impressive considering that the team is playing without Karlsson, who missed his eighth straight game on Monday with what head coach Pete DeBoer is calling a “muscle injury” in his lower body. The Sharks are 7-2-1 on the season without Karlsson.

Joe Thornton continued to leave his imprint on the NHL’s record books on Monday. By setting up Kevin Labanc’s fourth goal in two games at 17:30 of the second, Thornton collected his 1,050th career helper, passing Gordie Howe to move into ninth place on the NHL’s all-time assists list. In the process, he also tied Teemu Selanne for 15th place on the NHL’s all-time scoring list, picking up his 1,457th career point.

Evander Kane stayed red hot, as well, scoring two more goals to give him 26 on the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports

      

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