San Jose has elevated their game against some of the best teams in the NHL of late.
The San Jose Sharks are playing their best stretch of hockey of the season, and they’ve been able to maintain that against the top teams in the NHL.
Case in point, three of San Jose’s past four victories have come against the best team in the entire league in the Washington Capitals, by a 5-2 margin, and the Boston Bruins by a 3-2 final. The Sharks were also able to dispatch the New York Rangers by a 4-1 final, using a third-period flurry to down New York.
Team teal has exhibited a mental and physical toughness as they have risen to meet the challenges in front of them. As Kevin Kurz of CSN California notes, the Sharks were 8-1-1 prior to their two meetings against Boston and New York, so San Jose is in fact 10-1-1 in their last 12 games against the top teams in their respective divisions.
These are very impressive numbers and should excite Sharks fans as the playoffs draw near. Obviously, there are now easy matchups in the playoffs where team teal will square off against the best-of-the-best.
The fact that San Jose is playing so well against the top teams should provide plenty of momentum as the calendar heads towards April. What’s allowed the Sharks to fare so well has been contributions throughout their lineup, along with stellar goaltending from Martin Jones and James Reimer.
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Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and Brent Burns have been their usual dominant selves, but they’ve been aided by the support from guys like Tomas Hertl and Joonas Donskoi who have taken their games to the next level.
Also, after being one of the biggest question marks heading into the season, Jones has settled into the number one role and found his groove in San Jose. He’s been stronger over the course of the second half of the season, including a 12-6-1 record with a 2.00 GAA and a .928 save percentage after the All-Star break.
While this run of play has certainly been impressive, the Sharks and their fans know they must prove it come crunch time in the postseason. With Marc-Edouard Vlasic out at the moment, team teal will be holding their breaths regarding their defensive stalwart.
However, with the way San Jose has been playing, they should relish the opportunity to prove their worth before a likely first-round matchup against one of their Southern California brethren.
The Sharks will get another test from a premiere team in the NHL when the second-place St. Louis Blues come to SAP Center for their only visit of the season.
San Jose should be very confident heading into this contest as they’ve demonstrated that they can rise to the occasion when going against the best that this league has to offer.