San Jose will play 10 of their next 12 contests on home ice to close out the month of March.
For the better part of the past two seasons, the San Jose Sharks have really struggled at SAP Center. After being known as one of the toughest buildings in all the league, the “Shark Tank” has been friendly waters for opposition of late.
A season after going just 19-17-5 at home, the Sharks have actually been worse this year to date with a 12-14-3 mark. San Jose has the opportunity to turn that record around during the month of March as the Sharks play nine of their next 10 games, and 10 of their next 12 at SAP Center to close out March.
While team teal has shown signs of promise recently at home, they are still only 7-4-3 at home since the calendar turned to 2016.
It’s a really puzzling dynamic for San Jose because they’ve been so good and dominant on the road this season. The Sharks have the best road record in the NHL with 25 victories.
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There hasn’t been much of a difference between their goal production in their home and road splits, the difference has been staggering on the defensive end of the ice. San Jose ranks second with 112 goals on the road and fourth at 3.03 goals per game, while ranking 11th at 2.86 goals per game at SAP Center.
However, the Sharks rank fifth defensively on the road allowing 2.43 goals per game, but that figure drops to 24th in the NHL at home, allowing an average of 2.79 goals per game. Those are staggering figures and a key reason why San Jose has struggled so much in the Silicon Valley.
Another puzzling reason for the Sharks struggles at home has been the play of Martin Jones. Jones has amassed two-thirds of 33 victories on the road this season with a 2.21 GAA and a .926 save percentage. Meanwhile, his goals-against-average isn’t too bad at 2.41 at home, but his save percentage drops to .908.
Now, Jones is playing the best hockey of the season right now which will hopefully carry over to the Tank. San Jose needs to use these next 10 home games to help establish their identity on home ice. The Sharks must work on stepping up their game and making life difficult for the opposition.
Too many times this season team teal has seemed complacent on home ice, and that can’t happen any longer, especially with the playoffs right around the corner. March is the time for San Jose to shore up their game and focus on the details each and every game.
It all begins tonight as the Sharks welcome the New Jersey Devils to town looking to bring those road performances home with them. If they can do that, San Jose should be poised for a strong run heading into the postseason.