San Jose Sharks Hold Steady In Pacific Division


The San Jose Sharks hit the road during the past week, and while they were able to snap their six-game losing streak, San Jose has faltered in their past couple of games. After victories over the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, the Sharks fell in Ottawa before dropping an overtime decision against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Despite their December struggles, San Jose is holding steady within the Pacific Division as they remain in second place, eight points behind the Los Angeles Kings whom the Sharks will visit tonight.

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Speaking of the Kings, they just keep chugging along as the rest of the division remains in mediocrity. Los Angeles returns home off a six-game road trip where they went 3-2-1, although it ended with a dud as they dropped a 5-0 decision to the Maple Leafs.

The Kings have returned to their old formula of suffocating defense and finding enough offense to wear teams down with the forecheck. Los Angeles has allowed the fewest goals in the league with 70, but they rank 23rd on offense at 2.47 goals per game.

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Meanwhile, the rest of the division is clustered together as the Vancouver Canucks are somehow sitting in a playoff position with 33 points even though they’ve lost 23 of their 35 games this season. Vancouver doesn’t do much well, except losing in overtime or the shootout to at least secure one point. The Canucks rank 22nd in goals per game and the penalty kill, while ranking 23rd in goals against and on the power play.

Sitting just one point behind the Canucks, the young Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers are all within striking distance. Max Domi continues to lead Arizona with 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists) as they have the league’s 10th-rated offense at 2.72 goals per game; however, the Coyotes defense ranks 29th in the NHL allowing 3.19 goals per game.

Calgary used a seven-game winning streak to begin the month of December to jump right back into the division race, but the Flames have dropped their past two games to kind of stem the tide. It’s pretty amazing where Calgary stands considering the Flames have the league’s worst defense (3.36 goals against per game), worst penalty kill (73.6 percent) and worst power play (11.0 percent). One of the few bright spots has been Johnny Gaudreau who leads Calgary with 12 goals, 22 assists and 34 points.

Similar to the Flames, Edmonton began the month of December on a roll, winning six-in-a-row. Since then, the Oilers have dropped three of their last four games, but there appears to be good news on the horizon. Connor McDavid has resumed skating, although a return still hasn’t been determined. In his absence, Taylor Hall has been huge for Edmonton, leading the Oilers in scoring with 15 goals, 24 assists, 39 points and a plus-13 rating.

Finally, the Anaheim Ducks continue to struggle to gain any sort of traction during the 2015-16 season. Anaheim’s offense is still woefully underperforming as they’ve only scored 59 goals in 32 games. The Ducks have just one player, Corey Perry, who has scored more than 20 points this season which is pretty remarkable for a team with the amount of firepower they possess.

Next: San Jose Sharks Weekly Roundup

The Sharks hit the ice tonight for a big matchup against the Kings as San Jose tries to cut into Los Angeles’ lead atop the Pacific Division before enjoying a much needed six-day break for the holidays.