Pavelski quietly piling up points

Pavelski quietly piling up points
February 1, 2013, 2:15 pm
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Joe Pavelski has scored a point in each of the Sharks' first seven games this season -- all wins. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

SAN JOSE – There’s been so much publicity and praise heaped on Sharks forwards Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, who are both tied for the second in the league in scoring, that it’s pretty easy to overlook the third member of San Jose’s top scoring line.

That forward, though, is the only player to record at least a point in all seven Sharks games – all wins.

“You see Patty and Jumbo playing well, and a lot of guys that are playing well. It’s perfectly fine to fly under the radar,” said Joe Pavelski, who has four goals in his last three games, and is tied for fourth in the NHL with 12 points.

Todd McLellan said: “Patty and Jumbo have had a lot of recognition there, but Pav’s very quietly done a very good job to this point.”

Pavelski started the season with eight assists in the first four games, before finally lighting the lamp himself with two goals against Vancouver. He added another in the Sharks’ win over Anaheim on Tuesday, and gave the Sharks a 2-0 lead on Thursday against Edmonton after he intercepted a pass and deposited a quick wrist shot.

“It’s a funny thing how some nights you just find yourself at the net while a passing play is ending, and you’re either getting a rebound or tapping it in. Sometimes you’re making the first pass, and sometimes you’re receiving it. It’s kind of the way it’s worked,” Pavelski said.

“He’s been playing great. Obviously that’s the reason for my success so far, playing with those two guys,” said Marleau, who remains the NHL’s leader in goals, with nine. “He’s been playing well, and he’s continuing it. It’s good to see.”

Pavelski’s seven-game point streak is the tied for the longest in the league, with Oilers Taylor Hall and Sam Gagner, who also have seven-game streaks (but with fewer points than Pavelski).

“He’s having a tremendous year, and that’s what is expected of him,” McLellan said. “He’s just living up to a standard I’m sure he sets for himself, but we set that standard for him as well.”

While the Sharks struggled in the second half of last season, it wasn’t because of Pavelski, who had 11 points in the final 12 games (7g, 5a) in finishing with a career-high 31 goals. He failed to record a single point in the Sharks’ meek playoff defeat, but it was revealed after the season that he was battling three different injuries in his foot, knee and thumb.

When the lockout hit, Pavelski joined arguably the best league in the world that’s not the NHL. Playing for the KHL’s Dinamo Minsk, the 28-year-old put up 15 points in 17 games, most of them coming late after an adjustment period to the bigger ice surface.

That experience is paying off.

“That’s the reason I went over there, was to know that you did everything you could to have a good start,” Pavelski said.

“All things considered the production is there, so you’ve got to say, yeah, it worked.”

Pavelski figured his numbers have him among the league leaders, but he seems more concerned with the Sharks’ 7-0-0 record than he does any personal success.

“To be honest, I haven’t paid a lot of attention to it,” he said of the leaderboard. “I know it’s probably up there, but it’s early. The biggest goal for us is to keep building on this. Just because we got off to a 7-0 start, we don’t want to take a week or two weeks off and drop back down. We want to keep getting better, and keep playing well.”