San Jose Sharks vs Vancouver Canucks Pregame Thoughts and Analysis
For the second time in as many weeks the Sharks will take on the Canucks. This isn’t the same squad that the boys in teal steamrolled in the home opener though. The ‘Nucks have won all three of their games since that loss, and have been looking stronger and stronger with each passing contest.
It isn’t like the Sharks have slowed down since that first game though. Here’s a look at some key statistics and situations heading into tonight’s game.
Keys to Victory for San Jose
It’s real tough to find anything negative about the way the Sharks have played so far this season. The offense has been scary, to say the least. According to NHL.com, no team in the league has averaged more goals-per-game than San Jose’s (ridiculous) 5.67. No team in the league has a better five-on-five goals for/against ratio, and no team in the NHL is averaging more shots on net per game.
To put San Jose’s offensive dominance into perspective, consider this: The Sharks are averaging 44.3 shots a game right now, which is good for first. In second are the Ottawa Senators, who have put up a pedestrian-by-comparison 35.7 shots a game. That’s absolutely insane.
So don’t expect the Sharks to change a thing up front. Why would they?
San Jose needs to play their game tonight as they take to the road for the first time. Keeping things simple might be a touch overrated based on how they’ve played so far, so they just need to roll four lines, fire away and (most importantly) get bodies in front of the goaltender.
They didn’t do that until the middle of the first contest, but once they did their fortunes changed dramatically.
Continuing to develop confidence on the power play will also be key. The Canucks handed the Sharks eight power play opportunities in their first meeting, yet San Jose failed to capitalize even once. Since then they’ve clicked 26.7% of the time and now have one of the ten best power plays in the NHL.
That’s not a bad turn around.
Three Players to Watch For San Jose
- Joe Thornton was one of players to watch on Tuesday night against the New York Rangers, and we’re sticking to our guns here. Jumbo has set up a few plays, but his two points seem low because of how successful line mate Tomas Hertl has been. San Jose’s offense is clicking at a very high level without Thornton getting involved all over the ice. It’s only a matter of time before he has a three point outburst.
- We haven’t shown Marc-Edouard Vlasic enough love here at Blades of Teal recently. He’s been outstanding from the blue line in this young season, and it’s great to see him putting up points like he has been. Vlasic has been jumping up into the play whenever he has the chance and has four points so far. His best offensive season came in 2011-12, when he posted 23. He’s well on his way to besting that number this year.
- Joe Pavelski, score a goal already would you? We understand that you’re letting Hertl have all the fun, but we’d love to see you add a goal to go along with your five helpers.
No big moves or changes for San Jose. Brad Stuart was suspended for his hit on Rick Nash, but he’s been out of the lineup more often than not recently so it shouldn’t be an issue. Martin Havlat, Adam Burish and Raffi Torres are all still on the mend for the Sharks.
John Tortorella‘s infamous shot-blocking system already has its first Canuck victim in Alexandre Burrows. He’ll miss at least two weeks according to NHL.com.