Is this the goal of the year for the Sharks?
Dan Boyle scored a goal on two shots in almost 22 minutes of ice time. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SAN JOSE – Right about center ice, and with the puck on his tape, Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle had a decision to make with his team on a two-man advantage.
He could drop a pass to a teammate and wait for it to be brought into the offensive zone, or keep it, and continue charging ahead. He chose the latter.
The result was the prettiest goal the Sharks have scored all season, as Boyle went end-to-end and walked Wild defenseman Ryan Suter in the high slot before sliding it past Nicklas Backstrom. Boyle’s sixth marker – and fifth on the power play – gave the Sharks a 2-0 first period lead at 5:19.
“I was going to drop it probably by the red line, and I just changed my mind. I’m glad I did,” Boyle said.
Suter, a potential Norris Trophy candidate after signing a $98 million deal with the Wild in the offseason, will probably want to avoid seeing replays that are sure to be repeated on various networks nationwide.
“Obviously, he’s a great defenseman and doesn’t get beat too many times,” Boyle said. “It’s probably not something that happens to him very often.”
Todd McLellan was asked what the reaction was like on the Sharks' bench following Boyle’s beautiful rush.
“Wow,” McLellan said. “You could feel the excitement for him. There was a lot of ‘wows.’ It was a pretty impressive individual rush.”
The Sharks have scored five goals on a two-man advantage this season, four by Boyle, including this one.
Boyle, who was the subject of several trade rumors leading up to Wednesday’s noon deadline, ranked it second on his list of the best goals of his career.
His favorite came when he was in Tampa against a player whom he now calls a teammate.
“The nicest one I scored is actually against Minnesota years ago, when I was in Tampa. [Brent Burns] was on defense, and I kind of undressed him,” Boyle said with a smile. “If you guys can look that one up, that was my favorite one.”
The Sharks surrendered the two-goal lead, but markers by Joe Thornton and TJ Galiardi broke the 2-2 tie and gave San Jose its sixth consecutive victory. So far, the Sharks are 5-0 on a season-long seven-game homestand.
They jumped over Los Angeles with the win and now sit in fifth place in the Western Conference.
“We’ve got to start catching some teams and separating ourselves from that final playoff spot,” Boyle said. “We’re doing good things, but we saw last month how quickly that can go the other way if you start cheating.”