RALEIGH, N.C. — Hello, Dally!
Almost nobody saw this amazing Jonathan Dahlen pass — except maybe Rudolfs Balcers:
Balcers ties the game early in the third 🙌 pic.twitter.com/40eLLxPDxf
— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) January 31, 2022
At first glance, it looks like a Nicolas Meloche point shot caroms off Jonathan Dahlen, into Balcers’s wheelhouse. The third period goal would tie the game briefly, before the Carolina Hurricanes took a late decision from the San Jose Sharks 2-1.
Balcers, however, countered in his post-game press conference: “Dally made a heck of a play, he deflected it with a skate back to me.”
Wait, so it wasn’t just a lucky bounce for Jonathan Dahlen?
Nope — watch the right skate of Dahlen (76) in front:
Brett Pesce (22) has Dahlen’s stick tied up, but the rookie has the poise to use what’s not being defended — his feet — to kick a pass to where Balcers is going in the slot. Think about that for a second: Dahlen’s offensive brain is still working even though his stick is out of commission, so he’s not kicking it to where Balcers was, but where the Latvian winger is headed.
Both the prostrate Brady Skjei (76) and Carolina goalie Fredrik Andersen are caught off guard by the Balcers’s out-of-nowhere Grade-A scoring chance.
Before this road trip, Dahlen was mired in an awful slump: The rookie Swedish winger had no goals and two assists in his last 14 games, and one goal in his last 22. This was after scoring seven goals in his first 15 games this season.
Safe to say, Jonathan Dahlen has opened a lot of eyes again with this stretch of three goals and an assist against Eastern powerhouses Washington, Florida, and Carolina.
For a San Jose Sharks squad desperate for scoring beyond All-Star Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl, Dahlen’s re-emergence has been perhaps the most vital news from this road trip.
Sheng’s Travel Fund
Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.