With the Stanley Cup Playoffs in full bloom, we have come down to four teams that are wholeheartedly fighting for a respected spot in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. For the San Jose Sharks, they are just one win away from playing on hockey’s biggest stage for the first time in franchise history
Whenever a team decides to ‘flip the switch’, they look towards an unlikely hero that comes up prodigiously and carve out the pathway to success. The Sharks however, have multiple pieces who are contributing to their masterpiece of a Cup run. Brent Burns ( 6G, 13A ), Joe Pavelski ( 12G, 9A ), and Logan Couture ( 7G, 14A) have been absolutely monumental for the Sharks. But there’s one player who’s been a silent killer and he goes by the name of Chris Tierney.
Tierney wasn’t exactly the ‘go to’ player in the regular season. He only had 7 goals and 20 points in 79 games, and did not seem to be much of an impact player. But as all team’s say, “everyone is equally important on the roster”. Luckily the Sharks kept that motto.
During the course of the playoffs Tierney has been exceptional. He now has 5 goals and a single assist in 17 games played. That might not seem like much, but further explanation will reveal that he’s quite important.
After reviewing Tierney’s goals and overall play, he’s seemingly the guy that no one expects to get the puck and create success. Every opponent of the Sharks looks at the top guns like Pavelski, Burns, Thornton, and Couture, which is the right thing to do. But the thing teams are doing wrong against them is how they take other players so lightly. Such as in Tierney’s case, is a good thing.
Tierney has scored his goals in numerous ways. Sometimes a filthy snipe, a deflection, a rebound in the crease, or even an empty netter just like in game five versus the St. Louis Blues on Monday night.
His scoring efforts started in game five of the first round versus the Los Angeles Kings when he scored an absolute snipe for his first career playoffs goal. He would come up big against the Nashville Predators scoring two goals in game six, and would score again in games four and five of the series versus the Blues. With explosive efforts out of damn near nowhere, great things are expected to come.
Tierney is providing a safety net for the Sharks considering that he’s just another player doing the dirty work, and he’s doing it quite well for his first ever appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He’s giving the Sharks what Bryan Bickell gave the Chicago Blackhawks in their 2013 Cup run. In that year, Bickell had 9G and 8A helping his team defeat multiple teams when the odds were not so much in their favor.
Although Tierney’s stats are not terribly similar to Bickell’s that season, he is still producing in ways that coaches and teammates cannot thank enough. Even better, Tierney’s work is coming out of their third line with Joel Ward and Melker Karlsson, which adds to their depth considering how well built their top two lines are.
If Tierney’s success continues versus the Blues, who they are trying to slave off in game six, they will find themselves battling for lord Stanley’s mug on May 30 for game one. It will not be easy, but with contributions like Tierney has provided, it will not be as hard.