SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – There’s a touch of riverboat gambler in San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns.
The veteran defender’s aggressive style, especially on the offensive end, has been one of the keys to the Sharks playoff success so far this season.READ MORE: Armed Bike Thieves Targeting Cyclists in the East Bay Hills
But it all began with an off-season signing of free agent defenseman Paul Martin. If ever there was a balance to Burns’ free-wheeling play, it is Martin’s stay-at-home determination.
During the regular season, the pairing helped Burns set franchise records for a defenseman with 27 goals, 48 assists and 75 points.
In Game One of the Stanley Cup Final, with San Jose floundering and down 2-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins on the scoreboard, the Burns-Martin combination woke up the slumbering Sharks in the second period.
Freed up to join in on the attack, Burns assisted in both goals in the period to pull San Jose into a 2-2 tie entering into the third period.
Pittsburgh eventually scored the deciding goal in the third period, but not before Burns’ play had restored the Sharks confidence heading into Wednesday night’s Game Two.
“You try to keep everything normal but you’ve been dreaming about it for a while,” Burns said. “Now we know what we’re in for and we’ll be better.”READ MORE: COVID Vaccines: Contra Costa Drop-In Sites End Frustration Among Those Struggling To Find Appointments
Just how good has Burns been this post-season?
His six goals and 16 assists trails just teammate Logan Couture for the most points by any player this post-season.
It also has moved him into the rarefied air of the top five among all defensemen in NHL history in scoring during a playoff run.
With as many as a possible six games left, Burns is sure to move up the list.
And of the Sharks win the playoffs and history is any judge, Burns could be etching his name on the Conn Smythe Trophy when the confetti rains down on the ice after the final horn.
Currently, former New York Rangers star Brian Leetch leads the list of all-time defensemen in playoff scoring with 34 points during the 1994 Stanley Cup.
That performance earned Leetch the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player of the playoffs.
Al MacInnis also took home the prestigious award by amassing 31 points for the Flames in 1989.MORE NEWS: COVID Reopening: San Francisco Allows For Small Indoor Gatherings Among Fully Vaccinated
Boston legend Ray Bourque is third on the all-time list with 25 points and Pittsburgh’s Larry Murphy countered with 23 points in the 1991 post-season to round out the top five.