ST. PAUL, Minn. -- With a season unlike any other in Sharks' franchise history, Brent Burns has put his name in the mix for the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenseman.
He may have cemented his chance to be a finalist during an overtime period earlier on this brief road trip when he hardly came off the ice.
Burns had three shots on net, three other attempts blocked and played more than four minutes of Saturday's five-minute overtime against the Nashville Predators.
The Sharks didn't score, but Burns stayed out there for the entire two-minute power play that he helped create. With the puck mostly in Nashville's end, goalie James Reimer had to make only one save in the extra session.
Burns assisted on Tomas Hertl's tying goal in the third period, completing a week in which Burns had seven points in four games to help keep the Sharks' slim Pacific Division title hopes alive.
"He's an animal," Reimer said of Burns after the Sharks' 3-2 shootout win. "He's arguably one of the best defensemen in the league right now and probably not getting the recognition he deserves."
That might be partly true. Monday, Burns was named the NHL's Second Star of the Week, just days after he was selected by the league as one of three stars for the month of March.
"The numbers speak for themselves, but he can do it all," said Burns' former Minnesota Wild teammate Mikko Koivu. "He can defend, and by playing with him I know that. I think he's the whole package and he can be each and every night."
While Ottawa's Erik Karlsson and Los Angeles' Drew Doughty are getting the most attention for the Norris, Burns has put together an impressive resume.
Going into Tuesday's game against Minnesota, Burns has 27 goals and 74 points, both franchise records for a defenseman. He's also averaging a career-high 25:58 of ice time per game, 2:01 more than last season.
Burns perhaps is not quite as dominant offensively as Karlsson, or as stout on defense as Doughty. Few defensemen are. But Burns has the confidence of the Sharks' coaching staff to play in all situations, and Saturday's game was the latest example.
"I can't understand why he's not in those conversations more for (the Norris Trophy)," Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said. "He's a version of (Nashville's Shea) Weber and Doughty.
"He plays well in both ends for us, plays against other team's best lines. They're big guys a lot of nights, and he brings a physical element too, which some of those guys don't. For me, he should be in that conversation all day long, and I don't understand why I don't hear his name more."
Certainly there's a spirited debate going on in NHL circles as to what type of defenseman the Norris Trophy should go to. The tilt recently had been to more offensive-minded blueliners. Karlsson has won two of the last four seasons, and Montreal's P.K. Subban won in 2013.
"I think it's a two-way guy," Minnesota interim coach John Torchetti said. "It shouldn't always be about points, that's for sure. I think it's the most valuable player to his team, from every point in the game. Not just the offensive part of the game."
Burns is flattered to be a part of the conversation, and credited his teammates -- particularly defense partner Paul Martin -- for helping him in his standout season.
It's also clear that Burns enjoys playing for this coaching staff and has responded to assistant Bob Boughner, a veteran of 630 NHL games as a hard-nosed defenseman.
"He works a lot on the small parts of your game," Burns said of Boughner. "Getting shots through, good stick positioning. What he does is, he builds your confidence. He makes you feel good."