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San Jose Barracuda

Blichfeld on His Game “Trending Up”, Burns Defending Him After MacKinnon Hit

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Credit: San Jose Barracuda

Joachim Blichfeld’s breakaway snipe Wednesday night snapped his seven-game goalless streak, a sign that the Barracuda’s leading goal scorer could be back on track.

“I just think everything has been working and everything has gone my way,” Blichfeld told San Jose Hockey Now Tuesday. “It started out like that, and now I’ve hit a little bump and am just trying to get back to [where I] was the start of the year.”

Blichfeld, a San Jose Sharks 2016 seventh-round draft pick, began the season on a hot streak, earning nine points in six games. The second-year pro earned his second call-up to the San Jose Sharks, making his NHL season debut Mar. 3.

However, a hit to the head to Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon saddled Blichfeld with a two-game suspension. After the game, Brent Burns gave an adamant defense of Blichfeld’s inadvertent hit.

“Obviously, we got to be careful with it,” Burns said after the game. “You got to take care of players. I know Blichy’s not trying to hurt anybody there. But he’s got to play a hard game to be successful, to get established for himself.

Blichfeld said of Burns’ statement:

“That was nice. We’re teammates, and teammates stick up for each other. It felt good for sure, for a guy like Burns to do that.”

Blichfeld went scoreless in his two NHL appearances, but returned to the Barracuda and put together four goals and two assists in eight games. It seems clear the 22-year-old can continue to score in the AHL.

“[Blichfeld’s] doing what he’s supposed to do,” head coach Roy Sommer said. “He’s shooting pucks, getting lots of attempts, and playing both ends of the rink. His game’s really trending up.”

The Barracuda’s Rookie of the Year in 2019-20, Blichfeld earned 32 points in 44 games. Now playing consistently on the first line this season, Blichfeld has been the Barracuda’s go-to offensive weapon. He leads the team with 96 shots on goal, ahead of Sasha Chmelevski’s 44.

Blichfeld, Chemelvski, and center Alexander True have been the Barracuda’s first line for the past three games, combining for 11 points.

“It’s always nice to get a lot of ice time and play with good players,” Blichfeld said. “I’m definitely not complaining about that.”

Chemelvski has broken out of his own slump while playing with the pair of Danes. Playing on the Barracuda’s top line all season, Blichfeld and True each have 18 points to lead the team in scoring.

“Obviously we can talk a little different about things, just speaking the same language,” Blichfeld said of his chemistry with True. “We can talk about when we get home too. So I think just being able to communicate and obviously being good friends and stuff helps a lot too. [We’re] a good combination with that.”

Along with being on the top line, Blichfeld has seen a lot of ice time through special teams. He’s not just on the first power play unit with True, Chemelvski, Maxim Letunov, and Brinson Pasichnuk, but usually starts off the penalty kill alongside True.

“I just think with my hockey IQ, I can read the play a little bit,” Blichfeld said of being on the penalty kill. “It’s obviously just nice to be out there. You don’t complain whenever you get another chance to go on the ice.”

Key Barracuda score to split back-to-backs

The Barracuda were stunned by the Texas Stars Tuesday night, losing 7-2 to start the four-game series in San Jose.

The Stars stacked up four goals in the final 10 minutes of the opening period, the most first period goals allowed by the Barracuda this season.

San Jose added two power play goals in the second period. Robbie Russo scored by one-timing a puck off the boards on a 5-on-3 power play, assisted by Blichfeld and Chmelevski. Letunov cleaned up a rebound to score a power play goal less than 90 seconds later, assisted by Blichfeld again and Alexander True.

The Stars quickly put the game out of reach, putting another three goals past Alexei Melnichuk for the 7-2 win.

The Barracuda (10-9-4-2) rebounded with a 4-2 win over the Stars (12-13-2-0) Wednesday.

Sam Harvey (2-2-1) made 29 saves in his fifth start of the season while defenseman Greg Pateryn made his Barracuda debut after being acquired by the San Jose Sharks Apr. 10.

The Stars opened the scoring in the last 22 seconds of the first period. Halfway through the second period, rookie forwards Brandon Coe and Scott Reedy set up Ivan Chekhovich, who ripped in a one-timer. Chekhovich scored his first goal of the season, adding to his two assists in 11 games.

Just two minutes later, Sasha Chmelevski made a stretch pass to spring Joachim Blichfeld on a breakaway. All alone, Blichfeld scored his 11th of the year and extended Chmelevski’s point streak to four games.

Late in the second period, the Stars scored on the power play to tie the game at 2-2.

Halfway through the third period, Evan Weinger and Ivan Chekhovich connected on a couple passes to set up Maxim Letunov to score on a point-blank one-timer.

In the final 20 seconds of the game, Letunov scored his ninth goal of the season on the empty net for the 4-2 win. Letunov, the Barracuda’s points leader last season, has scored seven goals in the last seven games.

The Barracuda host the Stars for another pair of back-to-back games Friday and Saturday at SAP Center.

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Alaskan_ice

I keep hoping that Blichfeld, Chmelevski or Chekhovich make that next step. The upside has been there and we’re all excited and we’re hoping.

[…] on the Barracuda’s first line since early Feb. Blichfeld credited their chemistry to their friendship and communication. Now in their second year as roommates, True said of Blichfeld’s pregame […]

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