Living Dangerously ~ In Game 4 the San Jose Sharks surrendered 17 high danger scoring chances. Whether it was on the rush or during a long shift in the offensive zone the Colorado Avalanche made their presence known in front of Martin Jones.
Colorado had no trouble boxing out the Sharks skaters and setting screens for their talented shooters. Jones fared well overall amidst all the turmoil in front of his net, however relying on him to make those saves on a nightly basis is a recipe for disaster. Team Teal desperately needs to do a better job getting back on defense and pushing the smaller Avalanche players out of the net front area.
Congratulations Sharks, You Played Yourself ~ It’s amazing how fast a team can look when they have an extra skater on the ice. Despite a few questionable calls the Sharks still found themselves in the penalty box way too often. They committed 6 minor penalties spending a total of 6:38 minutes a down man. The Sharks were lucky to only give up one goal during that stretch of time. Giving a team with as much skill as the Avalanche all of that open ice to work with is never a good idea, even though Team Teal played their best hockey with only 4 skaters out there.
On the flip side of things their struggles on the power play continue. Heading into Game 4 going 1/8 on the man advantage the Sharks failed to convert on their two chances with extra ice. They made some tweaks to both units during morning skate but it didn’t really result in much with only 2 shots being considered highly dangerous. Team Teal’s depth can match Colorado’s top-heavy offense at 5v5, but they need to start taking advantage of these chances on special teams if they want to move on to Round 3.
Quantity Doesn’t Equal Quality ~ The San Jose Sharks registered 32 shots against Philipp Grubauer and were able to sustain consistent pressure in the offensive zone but the German netminder’s night was relatively uneventful. Team Teal was only able to generate 6 highly dangerous shots with only 4 of those happening during the 45:10 of even strength play.
If this keeps up the Sharks will definitely be giving Philipp Grubauer his 2nd ever Stanley Cup Playoff shutout. They desperately need to shrink down their offense and focus more on moving the puck down near the dots and behind the net.
Having all world blueliners like Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns are a luxury to have. But the Sharks over reliance on their shooting ability from the point is hindering their ability to create consistent offensive zone pressure. Colorado seems satisfied with letting Burns or EK65 blast from near the blue line if that means they can clog the shooting lanes and disrupt any opportunity for Team Teal to get a deflection or put back a rebound.
This is where Joe Pavelski’s absence is the most noticeable. The captain is known around the league as one the best at deflecting those type of point shots that the Sharks have relied on so much. There really isn’t another skater in Teal that can replicate this type of production near the crease. However they’ll need to adapt regardless of who is ready to play in Game 5.
The Sharks head into a best of 3 scenario against a talented Avalanche club. However the Team Teal has faced a bit of adversity already in these playoffs so it’s not likely that they are sweating all that much heading into Game 5. Fingers crossed that we hear some positive news surrounding the future of Joe Pavelski in this series during morning skate on Saturday morning.
The stats in this article came from naturalstattrick unless stated otherwise