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Why the Sharks Will Win the Stanley Cup

Monday, 04.29.2013 / 1:10 PM / News
NHL.com

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 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 82 41 38 23 79
J. Thornton 82 11 65 20 76
P. Marleau 82 33 37 0 70
L. Couture 65 23 31 21 54
B. Burns 69 22 26 26 48
T. Wingels 77 16 22 11 38
D. Boyle 75 12 24 -8 36
J. Demers 75 5 29 14 34
T. Hertl 37 15 10 11 25
M. Nieto 66 10 14 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Stalock 12 5 2 .932 1.87
A. Niemi 39 17 7 .913 2.39
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