Team Teal is heading to the east coast again for a game tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. The San Jose Sharks are coming off a remarkable 3 goal, 3rd period rally against the Nashville Predators, one of the bonafide heavyweights in the league. The Sharks are looking to perpetuate their winning streak with another fierce match up this evening against the Canes.
The San Jose Sharks seem to be still working out their team rapport issues after the first 9 games of the season. A comeback win is a great bonding experience for a team looking to formulate their chemistry together. The game tonight is another tough test considering Carolina is probably one of the leagues most surprising teams with their aggressive play in the early stages of the season. Team Teal is hoping to stymie the ‘Canes very potent offensive attack.
Tonight’s match up features two of the most impressive squads when it comes to the underlying numbers. Both of these teams rank in the top 2 of CF%, FF%, SF% and the top 5 in HDCF%, stats according to naturalstattrick. Essentially these two teams control the puck in the opponents zone a lot and pepper the net with shots.
So it’s going to be fascinating to see which team can dominate possession and can generate the most high danger scoring chances. This is one of the most highly touted match ups for analytically minded hockey fans, but I think this game will be a product that everyone will enjoy.
A lot of people will tuning in to this match up and hopefully you all will be too. If you do end up catching tonight’s action here are a few things to look out for at the PNC Arena in Raleigh.
Can Cooch Stay Clutch?
Logan Couture is riding a 4 game scoring streak and a 7 point wave over that time. After a slow start to the season Cooch has caught fire. His hat trick against the Sabres sparked something and he has been clicking ever since.
He and his line-mates Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier seem to have finally found their bearings and have started to generate some consistent offensive zone pressure. This is great news for a team who has been struggling to produce goals, even though they’ve commanded the shot sharing statistics.
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Keep an eye out for Couture to carry on with this offensive output against the Hurricanes on Friday night. With his line creating offensive chances the San Jose Sharks now have 3 strong forward lines for opponents to contend with.
Will the top line continue to elevate their game?
The combination of Evander Kane, Joe Pavelski, and Kevin Labanc have been arguably the Sharks most capable line. The Scandinavian Coalition of Sorenson, Suomela, and Donskoi have been effective, but Coach Peter DeBoer seems to trust his the top unit with the bulk of the difficult offensive responsibilities.
The first line leads Team Teal with 66.15 SF% while on the ice together at 5v5, and places 4th in the entire league in the category. They are also responsible for 75% of the GF% at 5v5 which leads the Sharks over the first handful of games, stats per Corsica Hockey. I feel like these 3 have been flying under the radar during the earlier portions of the 2018 – 2019 campaign. Considering a significant portion of the teams offense is being funneled through these three skaters.
A tough test for the worlds “Okayest” goalie.
As mentioned previously, the ‘Canes have been one of the most dominant possession teams in the entire league. This is a tall order for Team Teal’s backup netminder although he has impressed during his first two performances earlier this season. During two games he’s posted a .917SV% and suppressed 17 out of 21 HDCF shots, stats per naturalstattrick.
It will be a must needed breather for starter Martin Jones, who has shown flashes of his excellence in net but ultimately has underwhelmed. Jones has the 4th lowest SV% among goalies who have started at least 7 games. He also sports a disheartening GSAA of -1.69, which means he’s having a difficult time curbing his opponents high quality shooting chances.
Hopefully Team Teal can limit their offensive zone pressure and scoring opportunities. As well as help screen bodies from the crease so Dell has time and space to bottle up potential created rebounds, which often result in high danger scoring chances. The San Jose Sharks need to play cautious with a team with the fire power of the Carolina Hurricanes.
If you’re interested in catching the game you can watch it live on NBCSCA at 4:30 PT, or stream it courtesy of the Sharks App and 98.5 KFOX.