San Jose looks to keep their perfect home record in tact during this series as they return to the friendly confines of SAP Center for Game 7.
For the past two seasons, people have wondered what has happened to the San Jose Sharks whenever they hit the ice at the Shark Tank. For years, SAP Center has been one of the loudest and most boisterous buildings in the entire NHL, but team teal has struggled to perform in front of the home fans.
Many thought the Sharks would return to form this year after posting a 19-17-5 record during their disastrous 2014-15 campaign. However, San Jose was even worse on home ice this season posting an 18-20-3 record.
So, with the playoffs rolling around, how would team teal respond to their poor performance throughout the year? Well, thus far, the Sharks have played great hockey on home ice as they’ve started to find their groove.
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After dropping their first home game of the postseason in Game 3 of the first round, San Jose has rattled off four-straight victories in front of the home fans.
If they can extend that streak to five games tomorrow night, the Sharks will be moving on to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2011.
Despite there still being some doubters in the Silicon Valley, San Jose has provided the fans with some exciting hockey. Although they failed to sell out the first two games of this series, the Sharks still found a way to secure victories in games one and two.
Then, in a pivotal Game 5, SAP Center was rocking like the Shark Tank of old as the home team absolutely blitzed Nashville by a 5-1 final.
In their five games in the Bay Area, San Jose is outscoring their opponents by a 17-9 margin, including outscoring the Predators by a 13-5 margin in this series.
The Sharks have been a different team on home ice against Nashville as they look more calm and confident with the puck.
At home, San Jose has fed off the energy of the home crowd and used that to fuel their forecheck and offensive attack.
Another key factor is team teal’s deadly power play has been even better on home ice. The Sharks are 7-for-17 (41.2 percent) with the man advantage at the SAP Center during these playoffs and have found the back of the net in each home game against Nashville.
But it isn’t just the offense that is clicking on all cylinders when the Sharks are at home. Martin Jones has looked very solid at home posting a 1.78 GAA and a .939 save percentage in his five starts at the Tank.
Jones, and the rest of his defensive teammates, have been stellar at home allowing just five goals to the Predators, while allowing 12 goals in the three contests in Nashville. As you can see, pretty stark contrast between home and away, but the Sharks are hoping they continue the trend in Game 7 tomorrow night.
While the fans at Bridgestone Arena have received plenty of praise throughout this series, the Sharks and their fans have the opportunity for one last response in this decisive game tomorrow night.
San Jose knows it will be a frenzied crowd on hand, and want to ride that energy and momentum all the way into the third round of these playoffs.