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The Good and the Bad
Thursday's highs and lows for the Sharks
10/13/17 - By Paul Krill -

The Sharks on Thursday evening became the last team in the league to tally a point in the standings this season, with a 3-2 win over the Sabres at home. Granted, they had only played two games prior to that. But what was alarming about those two games was they were home games against two teams that didn't make the playoffs last season and the Sharks couldn't muster a lead against either of them. In Thursday's win, the Sharks never trailed.

Overall, there was good and there was bad to be observed during the entire evening. First, the bad:

* Joe Thornton, who missed on an empty net chance at the end of the game, was kept off the scoreboard again. He has one point in three games.

* Joe Pavelski also was kept off the scoreboard. He, too, has one point in three games and missed the empty net.

* Almost the same deal with Brent Burns: no points Thursday, one point in three games.

* The crowds at Sharks games aren't what they used to be. The days of automatic sellouts are over, with the novelty of San Jose hosting a major league sports team finally having worn off after 20+ years. It seems like there are growing numbers of seats filled by fans of the other team. And lots of people left the game while it was still close. Repeat: the game's outcome was very much in question and people went home, anyway. Also, the dreaded "Wave," which used to never happen at Sharks games, is now a regular occurrence. (To me, you get a wave going because the game itself doesn't seem important enough or entertaining enough.)

Now, the good:

* In my postmortem column for last season, I wrote that young Sharks like Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier were going to have to step up, given that Sharks core players like Thornton and Pavelski were now well into their 30s. At Thursday's game, we saw exactly that happen. Meier, Hertl and Chris Tierney stepped up to the plate and won the game for the Sharks. We're going to need to see continued contributions from the Sharks younger players if the team is to remain relevant in the standings.

* Martin Jones, who looked shaky in goal he first two games, played better in Thursday's game.

* After a disappointing first season with the Sharks, Mikkel Boedker now has two points in three games, including a goal. Let's hope this is the sign of more good things to come.

The Sharks will play two more home games, against the Islanders and Canadiens, before heading out to New Jersey for their first road game of the year next Friday against the so-far-surprising Devils. We're going to find out soon enough just how good - or bad - the 2017-18 Sharks are.

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