How Sharks owe season-long win streak to young players’ contributions

How Dylan Gambrell scored game-winner, extended Sharks’ win streak

How Sharks owe season-long win streak to youth motion initially appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

For one night, a minimum of, the Sharks (17-16-4) are just an explain of a playoff area.

San Jose’s 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings (14-16-6) at Staples Center on Saturday was the Sharks’ 4th straight success, connecting them with the West Division-leading Colorado Avalanche for the longest active streak.

It could not have actually occurred without important contributions from 3 of the Sharks’ youngest gamers on the game-winning objective.

Defenseman Mario Ferraro, simply 22 and San Jose’s second-youngest gamer on the lineup Saturday, won a race to a loose puck behind his own web with simply shy of 5 minutes staying in policy. Ferraro passed to John Leonard, the Sharks’ youngest gamer and Ferraro’s previous college roomie, to spring a breakout.

The 22-year-old brought the puck into the neutral zone, discarding and going after behind the Kings’ web prior to selecting LA goaltender Jonathan Quick’s pocket. Leonard rapidly focused a pass to Dylan Gambrell, 24, who fired the puck into a wide-open web with 4:37 staying in policy.

“Johnny did all the work there, so I can’t take too much credit,” Gambrell stated in a postgame video conference with press reporters. “He went end to end there and did all the work, and I was just there to tap it in, so kudos to him.”

Last month, basic supervisor Doug Wilson stated the Sharks were devoted “to the reset in the younger players getting opportunities.” Ferraro, Gambrell and Leonard have actually been amongst the greatest recipients.

Maybe the only intense area in the Sharks’ uninspiring season a year back, Ferraro has actually taken an action in his 2nd NHL season. He was 2nd just to Brent Burns in ice time on Saturday (27:12), and no San Jose defenseman has actually been much better at restricting opportunities this season. With Ferraro on the ice, the Sharks enable about 2 less high-danger opportunities per hour than when he isn’t, according to Natural Stat Technique.

Gambrell, on the other hand, is balancing simply shy of 16 minutes in ice time per night, which is over 4 minutes more than his previous profession high. He’s likewise simply 2 points shy of matching his career-high 11 points, which he embeded in 50 video games in 2015.

Leonard, after a quick vacation in the AHL with the Barracuda, has actually been a component amongst the Sharks’ bottom-six forwards. Given that going back to San Jose’s NHL lineup on Feb. 11, Leonard has actually just missed out on 2 video games and scored 9 points (3 objectives, 6 helps).

You can’t forget 22-year-old defenseman Nikolai Knyzhov, who has 3 points in his last 3 video games and 5 in his last 9. Nor must you disregard 23-year-old Rudolfs Balcers, who has 12 points in 22 video games given that the Sharks declared him off waivers. Winger Timo Meier, in some way, will not turn 25 for another 6 months.

Simply put? The Sharks’ youngest gamers are filling essential functions, all as San Jose promotes a playoff berth.

“There’s still a lot of hockey left,” Ferraro informed press reporters. ” … We’ve still gotta keep going. Just as much as last weekend — when we weren’t doing too well [in back-to-back losses against the Arizona Coyotes] — we [had] to keep staying positive, and now we can’t get too high on the highs that we’re on right now coming off two big wins here. We’ve gotta keep it going. You can’t take any games off.”

RELATED: Leonard describes why Sharks have actually won 4 straight video games

The Sharks’ youth might be evaluated much more in the coming days. Veteran defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic played simply shy of 5 minutes Saturday prior to sustaining what coach Bob Boughner called an upper-body injury.

San Jose is a point back of the fourth-place Coyotes, and connected on points with the fifth-place St. Louis Blues, who hold the tiebreaker with more policy and overtime wins. Each of the Sharks’ next 5 video games protest the Kings and Anaheim Ducks, whom San Jose has actually lost to a combined 2 times this season. It’s not out of the concern the Sharks remain in a playoff area when the trade due date rolls around at midday PT on April 12.

However even if they’re not, the Sharks can still take a lot of solace understanding the kids are all right.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.