Why the Sharks Will Win the Stanley Cup

Monday, 04.29.2013 / 10:10 AM PT / News
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Why the Sharks Will Win the Stanley Cup
The San Jose Sharks have shown this season they can play as well as any team in the NHL.

The San Jose Sharks have shown this season they can play as well as any team in the NHL.

They started with seven straight wins in January and had another seven-game winning streak span late March and early April. They never lost more than two games in a row in regulation.

If they can put together more of those scorching hot streaks than their moderately cold ones during the next two months, they will win their first Stanley Cup.


It would help immensely if they can get into a home-ice position during the run: San Jose went 17-2-5 at HP Pavilion.

Goaltender Antti Niemi won a Stanley Cup for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, and the Sharks called on him in almost every game of the second half. He started 24 in a row.

Niemi had a 24-15 career playoff record before last season's five-game ouster.

The Sharks have won at least one playoff round in six of the past eight years, which means they have other players (and a coach) with significant postseason experience.

Todd McLellan knows he can count on Dan Boyle, Logan Couture, Jason Demers, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton, all looking to change the perception of the Sharks (and them) being not-quite-good-enough. Plus, this team has the vast Stanley Cup-winning experience of Larry Robinson on its staff.

San Jose was manhandled by the Chicago Blackhawks this season (who wasn't?), losing all three games and outscored 11-5 during an 11-day cold streak in February.

But the Sharks have a 13-6-2 record against the rest of the Western field, 3-0-0 against their first-round opponent, the Vancouver Canucks.

Ideally, the Sharks will have a first-round clinching game at home, can somehow avoid the Blackhawks in the second round, then find a way to win a conference finals series for the first time.

If they are on one of their patented hot streaks this season, it certainly can be done.

Author: Mike Battaglino | NHL.com Staff Writer

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 76 47 22 7 222 213 101
2 NSH 75 46 21 8 214 180 100
3 STL 74 46 21 7 226 182 99
4 CHI 73 44 23 6 207 167 94
5 MIN 74 42 25 7 211 183 91
6 VAN 74 43 27 4 212 199 90
7 WPG 75 39 24 12 212 197 90
8 LAK 74 37 23 14 199 184 88
9 CGY 74 40 27 7 217 195 87
10 DAL 74 36 28 10 232 236 82
11 SJS 74 36 30 8 207 210 80
12 COL 74 34 28 12 200 206 80
13 EDM 74 21 40 13 177 254 55
14 ARI 75 23 44 8 158 249 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 74 35 31 10 66
J. Thornton 70 14 48 -4 62
L. Couture 74 24 36 -3 60
B. Burns 74 16 38 -5 54
P. Marleau 74 17 35 -16 52
T. Wingels 67 15 19 -6 34
T. Hertl 74 12 17 -1 29
M. Nieto 64 8 16 -11 24
M. Vlasic 69 9 14 13 23
M. Karlsson 45 13 9 -2 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 29 22 7 .914 2.62
A. Stalock 6 7 1 .903 2.65
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