Maybe the reason the Sharks are struggling offensively is the team is in transition. I say that because this version of the Sharks has had a total team commitment to team defense. The goaltending has been great and pretty much every player is sacrificing in some way for the collective whole, from a defense first standpoint. Here are the facts:
Goals Against Per Game: 2.05 3rd NHL
Penalty Killing: 86.7% 4th NHL
Given up 2 or less goals in a game: 14x (8-2-4)
5-5 Goals Against: 25
Defense wins championships and this year the Sharks are playing as well defensively as I have seem in a long time. Remember the LA Kings struggled last year to score but built the foundation of team defense, solid PK and great goaltending during the regular season and their playoff ride was pretty decent to say the least.
Good test this week as the Sharks head to Canada to play back to back games against Vancouver and Calgary.
The game just started, and the start was great
Havlat created the turnover, using his skate
Jumbo got the puck, he's like a big elf
He passes to Cooch, who scores top shelf
Niemi was stellar, as was the PK
The players were prepared, they worked hard all day
Burish and Sheppard, did great work down low
Galliardi was 1st star, and knew where to go
The home cooking was needed, it took away some stings
The 2 points are in the bank, now bring on the Wings
- A li'l poem from Bakes
"We're either an efficient team that can be real effective, or we're inefficient and we lose games. So the next little bit will tell us what we really are." - Todd McLellan
The Blackhawks have beaten the Sharks twice this season, both in regulation.
The Blackhawks are the best team in the NHL with a record of 13-0-3 and can set the NHL record for the best start to a season if the Sharks don't win in regulation.
This Blackhawks are motivated, and rested, because they too haven't played since Tuesday.
Per McLellan's quote we'll get an idea of what the Sharks team is made of.
And clearly the Hawks are a better team right now and there is much work to be done with time to do it.
You beat the top team in their rink when they were rested and motivated which makes a statement that the Sharks are a team to be reckoned with.
There are certain losses that sting more than others. Losing to Chicago on a Friday night at the Madhouse on Madison by a score of 4-1, in a game the captain fought the other team's captain, won the fight and drew 4 minutes of PP time that was squandered ... stings.
I thought frustration and a loss of confidence was evident for the first time this year. While the media plays on the 7 up, 7 down roller coaster the players have to focus on playing for each other and beat a Blues team that has also been inconsistent this year.
The media can talk about the losing the streak but the Sharks need to come together to beat the team that ousted them in the playoffs last year - the gritty tough St. Louis Blues. This is a great opportunity for the team to end the slump and regain their confidence.
And so it goes ...
It's Feb 13. The Sharks have played 13 games. I used to wear #13. What does this mean?
Nothing! Zero! Zilch! And that's the problem right now, too many zeros. The Sharks have been shutout two of the last three games, but to their credit have earned a point each time because they too pitched shutouts, at least in regulation time.
The Sharks have scored 11 goals in eight games so it's not hard to figure out what needs to be done - score more goals. I'll say this, scoring woes now are not the end of the world… just ask the 2011-12 Los Angeles Kings.
The short, intense schedule will be a roller coaster the entire time. Enjoy the ride, even the bumpy parts because it's all part of the process of trying to make the playoffs and peak at the right time.
That's my thought for the day. Now I'm going to enjoy a slice of Chi-town.