A win is a win, but the San Jose Sharks still have some work to do to regain the form that saw them climb to the top of the NHL during the first month of action. For whatever reason, this offensively electric team has failed to get it done in regulation since the calendar turned to November.
Of the five games that San Jose has played this month, three of them have gone to a shootout (all loses) and one contest has been determined in OT (last night against Calgary).
One could argue that the Sharks have technically won two of those shootout loses with goals in overtime that were either disallowed or ignored all together, but the reality of the situation is that the Sharks have failed to hold onto leads lately. That isn’t the referees fault. That isn’t Toronto’s fault.
That’s on the players wearing teal.
Going back to October 30 against the Los Angeles Kings, the Sharks have blown leads nine different times. Failing to hold onto nine leads across a six-game patch isn’t good. In fact, it’s downright terrible.
Another disturbing trend for you to consider: the Sharks struck first in five of their last six contests. They only had to play catch up against the Phoenix Coyotes on November 2. Outside of that, they’ve started each and every game with at least a one-goal lead, and have only won one of those games—last night against the Flames.
Is snapping an ugly string of L’s important? You bet, and there’s something to be said for momentum. This Sharks team has a long way to go toward returning to their early-October form, however. That was the San Jose team that had pundits around the league buzzing about how this could be a potential Stanley Cup contender.
The Sharks have a .615 win percentage when scoring the first goal, which is good for 22nd in the league. Their company in the basement of that particular stat includes the 6-9-3 Flames, the 6-10-1 Columbus Blue Jackets and the 6-10-1 Philadelphia Flyers.
In short: the wheels are very close to falling off for San Jose, and they need to take immediate steps to correct the issues that they’ve had while protecting leads. They’ve had no issue getting them, but they absolutely must be better in keeping them.