Todd McLellan dropping Joe Pavelski to the third line after the usually reliable forward had only one goal in his past 18 games and no points at all in his past eight. But the stat sheet after San Jose's 5-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Monday showed that it turned out to be anything but that. Pavelski's 20:47 in ice time -- the one stat that reflects a coach's sense of how a player is doing each game -- was second highest among the team's 12 forwards as he had his strongest outing in weeks at both ends of the ice. "You feel it a little bit," Pavelski said after his first-period goal that ended his point drought. "You never want it to go eight in a row because you are aware of those things. For whatever reason, it keeps building sometimes. However many it was, it was probably that long since I played a complete game like tonight." McLellan and Pavelski will look for a similar performance in Wednesday night's 7 p.m. rematch between the teams at HP Pavilion -- the first of a season-long seven straight games at home for a Sharks team on the playoff bubble. Besides moving Pavelski to the third line, McLellan also shifted him back to center -- his original position before being used at wing much of the past few years -- between James Sheppard and TJ Galiardi. And, yes, getting Pavelski back on track was part of the motivation. Like all of San Jose's top scorers, Pavelski began the season with a vengeance, scoring four goals and eight assists in the first seven games. Then his touch disappeared as he has added only four goals and three assists in the 24 games since. "He has to pick it up, he knows that. He's a very honest guy," McLellan said in explaining his decision to move Pavelski, 28, back to center. "He's not fooling anybody, and not fooling himself. We expect more from him, and maybe this will trigger it."
Sharks' Joe Pavelski benefits from line change
San Jose Mercury News | Mar 27