The San Jose Sharks can’t seem to stay consistent in their efforts, which is unacceptable this close to playoffs.
In the past week, they have defeated the Los Angeles Kings in playoff level game, and then went on to lose to the Nashville Predators, playing with no energy at all.
Here are a few things that they must fix heading into the playoffs.
Third line must step up
After Saturday’s game against the Predators, coach Todd McLellan changed up his forward lines to try and force some better offensive play. Though it never happened, it shows that the third and fourth lines must step up their play.
“That third group with Shep and whoever is playing with him – Tommy Wingels, or Matt Nieto, or whoever else is on that wing – has to elevate their game, and their level of play to make a difference,” McLellan said. “They don’t have to score every night, they don’t have to carry the team, but their minutes have to be difference-making minutes. I think they can be better in that area.”
Relying solely on the top players is a recipe for disaster.
Improve on the Power Play
The Sharks’ power play is currently 19th overall in the NHL at 17.4 percent success rate. For the Sharks, this has increased slightly from 21st, but is still far below the norm for the team. The Sharks just haven’t been able to capitalize on the man advantage. It could be explained by the amount of injuries the Sharks forwards have seen, but this will continue to be a huge factor come playoffs.
Joe Pavelski acknowledged this, stating that “The power play could be a little better. It’ll come, it’ll come.”
He has faith it will get better, so let’s keep faith as well.
Holding on to Leads
The Sharks have had one to many games where they give away the lead. Whether it is due to relaxing once gaining points on the opposing team, the Sharks must be able to keep the lead, especially when two or three points ahead.
“We can’t give away points,” Pavelski said. “We’ve given away a few too many lately.”
Despite not always giving up the win… giving up comfortable leads is exactly what will prove detrimental once the playoffs begin.
If the Sharks can better these three areas, the Stanley Cup should be within reach.