Sharks Smell Blood Heading Into Postseason
By Patrick Hoffman
**Originally Drafted on April 2**
When it comes to the NHL's Pacific Division, members of the media and NHL fans only seem to talk about a few of the teams in said division.
Teams like the Vegas Golden Knights, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, and Anaheim Ducks seem to be the most talked about teams in that division. In looking at each of these clubs, it is easy to see why they get mentioned a lot.
With that said, folks seem to forget to talk about one team that has been extremely successful in the Pacific and that is the San Jose Sharks. Remember, this is a team that lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final just two seasons ago.
This season has been another solid one for the Sharks. As of this writing (April 2), the Sharks are second in the division with 98 points, which also puts them fourth in the Western Conference and eighth in the entire league.
There are several reasons why this team has had success this season. It starts with the play of their starting goaltender Martin Jones.
Jones, 28, is 29-20-6 with a 2.49 goals against average, a .917 save percentage, and four shutouts. (As of April 2) He has been steady, reliable, makes the big saves when his team needs one and once again has the Sharks in a good position to be a tough out in the postseason.
This leads to another reason why the Sharks have been good this season and that is team defense. The team is currently (As of April 2) tenth in the league in goals against this season.
Because the team's defense and goaltending as a whole have been solid this season, it has enable the Sharks to win more games and be competitive in more games. As long as the game has been kept close either by Jones or the team's defense, the Sharks are usually in a good position to pick up two points on a nightly basis.
Another reason why the Sharks have been good this year is because of their balanced scoring. The team has gotten consistent production from the likes of Joe Pavelski (21 goals and 42 assists for 63 points), Brent Burns (11 goals and 52 assists for 63 points), Logan Couture (32 goals and 26 assists for 58 points), Tomas Hertl (21 goals and 23 assists for 44 points), and Joe Thornton when healthy (13 goals and 23 assists for 36 points in 47 games).
The team's offense, currently 11th in the league with 238 goals scored in 79 games (As of April 2), got even better when they acquired forward Evander Kane from the Buffalo Sabres. In 16 games with the Sharks, Kane has 14 points (9 goals and 5 assists) and could be a lethal weapon come playoff time.
With the team close to officially clinching a spot in the postseason dance (As of April 2) look for them to have their fins up out of the water and on the hunt at the most important time of the year.
Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.