After being shut out with the man advantage in Game Three, the Sharks responded in a big way in their Game Four victory.
The San Jose Sharks possess one of the most potent power play units in all the NHL, but they struggled to find any traction in their Game 3 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings which allowed L.A. to jump back into this best-of-seven opening round series.
However, after an 0-for-5 performance, San Jose turned things around in a big way in Game 4 as the Sharks power play carried team teal to within one win of the Western Conference semifinals.
What makes this Sharks power play so dangerous is the variety of ways in which they can attack their opponents. For instance, a beautiful cross-seam pass from Joel Ward allowed Brent Burns to wire one past Jonathan Quick. Burns is the wild card on the power play as he will fire shots from anywhere which can provide opportunities for rebounds or tips if they don’t go straight in. In Game 3 alone, Burns fired 10 shot attempts on the power play which is more than many generate all together.
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The second goal was a classic example of what the San Jose man advantage attack likes to do which is have Joe Thornton find someone in the slot for a quick one-time shot. In most instances, as was the case last night, Thornton finds Joe Pavelski who is adept at finding the soft holes in the defense.
With Patrick Marleau scoring the game-winner, the Sharks have now converted on 5-of-their 18 (27.8 percent) chances with the extra man in this series. In fact, San Jose has yet to beat the L.A. this season when failing to score on the power play, going 0-for-14 in their three losses, but converting a startling 10-for-27 (37 percent) in their six victories.
That’s quite impressive against a team that prides themselves on defense as much as the Kings do.
With their power play operating at such a high efficiency, the Sharks don’t feel the pressure of having to be so precise at even strength. San Jose knows they can count on their power play to create plenty of chances which allows them to work on taking away time and space from the Kings at 5-on-5.
Also, team teal pulls confidence from their extra-man attack and right now, they feel like they’re going to score whenever a power play opportunity presents itself.
Heading into this series, it was pretty evident the Sharks power play was going to play a big role in the outcome because of how evenly matched these two teams were.
San Jose’s man-up unit responded to the challenge in Game 4 and will be looking to continue to answer the bell whenever called upon throughout the rest of the postseason.