Not much was certain on opening night for the San Jose Sharks. The club suffered a last-place finish in last year’s shortened season, and one of their most important players, goalie Martin Jones, had much to prove after two uneven campaigns.
The Sharks responded by winning game one of this condensed season, 4-3 via shootout in Arizona Thursday night, and Jones had much to do with the victory. Though he allowed a late Coyotes goal that caused the free hockey, he made up for that as his team eventually triumphed.
Coach Bob Boughner went as far as to say that Jones’ star shone the brightest among many San Jose stalwarts contributing to victory. Here’s what he said postgame, courtesy of Ross McKeon of the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Jonesy was our best player. And if your goalie is your best player, you’re going to win on most nights.”
Added Jones: “It’s nice to be able to play well in the first game, but it’s just one game.”San Francisco Chronicle
It’s just one night, as Jones said, but this is a positive sign for a team in need of those. Though Jones is an accomplished player, an anonymous survey of NHL general managers compiled by The Athletic ranked his as the second-worst starting goalie in the league.
But if he can play to his potential, the Sharks could surpass their own expectations. So far, so good. Jones and the Sharks will get another chance for a win against those same Coyotes on Saturday.