Brent Burns is suddenly indispensable as a forward. Joe Pavelski and Martin Havlat have each rediscovered their scoring touch and all four lines have found ways to contribute. The Sharks' new line combinations haven't solved all of their offensive problems, but they've provided enough of a spark to allow the team carry a three-game win streak into Saturday's game against the Phoenix Coyotes at HP Pavilion. Riding the recent exceptional goaltending of Antti Niemi, San Jose has moved into sole possession of seventh place in the Western Conference standings. And with 15 games left in the regular season, it appears the Sharks, with their new line combinations, have made a few strides in finding their identity. "A lot of these nights, we've talked about not scoring enough," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said after Thursday's 2-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings. "Two was enough tonight because we did a lot of the other things right." Burns and Pavelski, perhaps the two players most impacted by the line shuffling, each have three-game goal scoring streaks. Burns has five goals and five assists since he was moved to forward from defense nine games ago. Burns is quick to credit linemates Joe Thornton and Marty Havlat for the success he's had, but the physical presence of the 6-foot-5, 225-pound former defenseman has provided a new dimension to the Sharks' offense. "It's been fun and we've been creating a lot of opportunities," said Havlat, who has five points in six games since he returned from a lower body injury. "Jumbo's a great passer and Burnzie's one of a kind, right? The more he plays, the more comfortable he'll be." With just 11 points so far, the injury-plagued Havlat is going through his worst offensive season in the NHL. He began the year often playing on the fourth line, and had just six points in his first 20 games.
San Jose Sharks get contributions from all four lines
San Jose Mercury News | Mar 29