Sharkies are back in The Tank tonight after a 4-game roadie that saw them go 2-1-1, bring their record in their last 10 to 6-2-2 and lose their first game in regulation in 2012. For the most part, things have been clicking for the Sharks.
But what about their New Years resolution – special teams. Are they getting better? Let’s take a look.
San Jose went 8 for 8 on the penalty kill during their past road trip. The best way to kill penalties is to avoid them altogether, and only taking 2 minors per game seems like a pretty good way to do that.
That streak of shutting out opponents’ power plays brought the Sharks’ 2012 penalty kill to 89.5%, (17 for 19). Had they killed penalties at this pace all season, The Sharks would be second in the league right now.
Their power play, however, did not pan out as well. Lighting the lamp only twice on thirteen attempts gave Team Teal a 15.4% power play on the road trip and brought their 2012 power play to 14.3%.. Projected across their first half of the season, the Sharks would be sitting pretty at 23rd on the PK right now. Not good.
The Sharks are still winning, so it’s clear they have been scoring 5 on 5. But for a team you ‘d imagine has a good shot of advancing pretty far in the playoffs, you like to think that a well-oiled power play in April will only help their chances.
And, with a 17-games-in-31-day March schedule, every point along the way to the season’s final month will be crucial for a tired team. An efficient power play during this daunting stretch will surely buy the boys a few goals, if not a few games.
I’d be lying if I told you I had suggestions for how McClellan and his guys can put more points on the board during the PP. But as a fan, and as someone who understands the more phases of the game in which a team is successful, the better the chances are it achieves its goals (read: Stanley Cup).
So as a fan, here’s hoping Team Teal picks its power play up (but not at the expense of another facet of their game, of course) in time for Spring.