The San Jose Sharks will need to focus on these three keys if they want to break their 4 game losing streak tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Patrick Marleau will be in the line-up tonight against the Blackhawks for his first game back with the San Jose Sharks since 2017.
Team Teal announced on Wednesday that it had officially signed the 40-year-old forward to a 1 year contract worth 700,000 dollars. The Sharks are desperately searching for answers on offense considering how they have only scored 5 goals in their 4 games played.
Regardless of Marleau’s impact on the team the Sharks as a whole need to play better. Not only are they having troubles offensively, San Jose can’t seem to put together a complete effort in any of the 3 zones of play.
If San Jose is hoping to shake off this string of bad play with a win against the Blackhawks they might be in for a bit of a surprise. Chicago is playing in their home opener and first game back from their trip to Prague, so the Sharks are likely facing a hungry opponent in the United Center.
Hopefully with their day off between contests San Jose found some time to reassess and retool their game plan heading into this tough stretch of the schedule. But as far as tonight goes the Sharks will need to focus on these three keys to success.
Key One – Get Ahead Early
The Sharks have yet to play with a lead during their 2019 – 2020 campaign. Compounding with this is the fact that San Jose has allowed a goal within the first 6 and a half minutes of every contest so far this season. If the Sharks want to get out to an early lead they’ll have to stop the other team from scoring first. But judging by how things have gone this might be better in theory than in practice.
Key Two – Control the Danger Zone
The Sharks are posting an abysmal 42.86 HDCF% through their first four games at even strength, per naturalstattrick. Last season the Sharks were one of the best teams in the league when it came to generating dangerous scoring opportunities.
This is complete flip of the script is because of lazy play in their own zone and lack of puck control when transitioning it through the neutral areas of the ice. The Sharks will need to play a clean game in front of Jones while also keying in on getting the puck out of their end as quickly as possible.
Key Three – Take What You Can Get
In the Sharks last game versus the Nashville Predators they finally broke their power-play drought. This is good news, however they head into Chicago converting at a disheartening 5.88% while also allowing 3 short-handed goals. If San Jose really wants to boost their offensive output they’ll start by using their special teams more effectively.
If they insist on using the point to funnel pucks into the net they’ll need to establish much more of a net front presence tonight. Look out for players like Tomas Hertl, Evander Kane, and Timo Meier to create havoc in front of Corey Crawford.
Line – Ups + Where to Watch
For tonight’s match-up Patrick Marleau gets penciled in on the top while Marcus Sorensen remains out. This will force Coach Pete DeBoer to jumble his line combinations yet again in the hopes of creating some more offense.
Patrick Marleau is expected to make his season debut tonight with the #SJSharks.
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) October 10, 2019
On the other end of things the Chicago is hoping to put on a show in front of an electric home crowd. NHL.com’s Blackhawk’s reporter Carter Baum was at morning skate and got an idea of what to expect from the team playing their first game on North American ice this season.
#Blackhawks lines this morning ahead home opener vs. Sharks:
Nylander – Toews – Kane
DeBrincat – Strome – Shaw
Saad – Kampf – Kubalik
Smith – Carpenter – Caggiula
Keith – Gustafsson
Maatta – Seabrook
Koekkoek – Murphy
Crawford appears to be tonight’s starter.
— Carter Baum (@CarterBaum) October 10, 2019
This desperate San Jose Sharks squad will be up against a hopeful Blackhawks team looking to rewrite the script on their season. Don’t forget to tune in for tonight’s festivities!
The broadcast starts at 5:30 PT on NBCSCA and NBCSCH. A stream for the event will be available on ESPN+ and via the MyTeams app.