There’s no strategy to sugarcoat it. Sport 5 of the Western Convention last was an unpleasant one for the San Jose Sharks.
Regardless of an early flurry and a primary interval through which the ice was considerably tilted of their favor, the Sharks have been crushed roundly Sunday contained in the ‘Shark Tank,’ and what began with an Oskar Sundqvist objective that put the St. Louis Blues forward early later spiralled uncontrolled. Within the second body, San Jose was dizzied by the St. Louis assault, with Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko tallies, the latter on a penalty shot, turning the tide considerably within the Blues’ favor. St. Louis stored coming within the third, too, with Schwartz notching his second of the night time earlier than capping the night along with his third of the sport, marking his second hat trick of the post-season.
It was really the type of defeat that normally both ends a sequence or signifies the start of a really quick spherical. And it’s hardly stunning that within the wake of the Sport 5 defeat, one which got here in embarrassing trend by the point the proceedings have been all stated and carried out, that some pre-emptive eulogies have been written for the Sharks.
However right here’s the factor: the final time San Jose was defeated so convincingly was after they went out and suffered a 5-Zero shutout loss in Sport four of the opening spherical towards the Vegas Golden Knights. At that second, the Sharks regarded defeated. That they had dropped three consecutive contests, allowed 16 objectives towards of their previous three video games and have been on the cusp of elimination after taking a 1-Zero sequence result in begin the sequence.
However everyone knows what occurred. In Sport 5, the Sharks got here out flying and put 5 previous Marc-Andre Fleury and downed the Golden Knights to remain alive. In Sport 6, Tomas Hertl delivered a double-overtime dagger that evened the momentum heading into the series-deciding contest. After which in Sport 7, a mixture of a good main penalty name and beautiful energy play heroics noticed San Jose claw again from sure post-season dying earlier than an extra time victory despatched them to the second spherical.
So, are the Sharks useless? Little question, they’re shut. Yet one more loss and San Jose can be packing their baggage. However this sequence isn’t over but, and the Sharks can nonetheless claw again. Right here’s how:
JONESING FOR ‘PLAYOFF JONES’Martin Jones was glorious from the aforementioned Sport four loss towards the Golden Knights, which was Jones’ third-straight defeat and marked the second outing through which he was pulled after lower than a full night time’s obligation, via to Sport 1 of the convention last. There needs to be no debate about that. He posted an Eight-Three file, .926 save share and had a pair outings through which he was the distinction. However an up-and-down post-season has seen Jones extra down than up towards the Blues. In his final 4 video games, Jones has allowed 15 objectives towards on 119 photographs, which supplies him an .874 SP for the reason that begin of Sport 2.
What the Sharks want now could be the Jones who stored their season alive on no less than a few events this post-season. San Jose wants the Jones who entered Sport 6 of Spherical 1 with the Sharks’ season on the road and made 58 saves within the double-overtime victory. They want the Jones who was examined 29 occasions and cracked solely twice in Sport 7 towards the Colorado Avalanche. And if neither reveals up, what they want, on the very least, is a Jones who can put up a single-game SP higher than .909, which is his finest mark over the previous 4 video games. He can steal video games. He’s proven that. Now, it’s time to ship.
DEFENSIVE DUTYThe Sharks’ defensive efficiency in Sport 5 – or, higher put, the 5 objectives San Jose allowed – can’t be laid on the toes of Jones. Sure, he was the goaltender of file and allowed 5 objectives, however the netminder was additionally beneath siege many of the night time. Not solely did San Jose give up 40 photographs towards, tied for essentially the most they’ve allowed in a single 60-minute affair all post-season, however the protection was porous and allowed St. Louis to get to prime areas far too typically.
Take into account that via Video games 2, Three and four, the Sharks allowed a complete of 13.7 scoring possibilities towards per sport at five-a-side. In Sport 5, the Blues managed to provide 26 scoring possibilities in just below 44 minutes of 5-on-5 motion. That’s to not point out, both, that St. Louis received to the premier areas of the ice to generate a dozen of these possibilities, ending with a 12-5 edge in high-danger scoring possibilities on the night time.
Jones must be higher, true, however he wants assist. San Jose has received the scoring probability battle at 5-on-5 thrice and high-danger probability battle twice. They should make that a fourth and third time, respectively. The Sharks want to guard the center of the ice going ahead, as a result of any slip-up will be extremely pricey.
BRING IN REINFORCEMENTSIf he’s nowhere close to 100 p.c, and it positive appears as if he isn’t, the Sharks can’t afford to maintain trotting Erik Karlsson out as a top-four defenseman. Dressing the all-world offensive blueliner and placing him in conditions the place he can contribute offensively, similar to the facility play? By all means, San Jose ought to preserve doing that in the event that they so please. Nevertheless it was evident even earlier than he left Sport 5 that Karlsson is ailing and asking him to play an everyday 5-on-5 shift is doing extra hurt than good.
With that in thoughts, it’s time for San Jose to shift up their pairings and begin heaping minutes on others. Brent Burns, who performed almost 26 minutes in Sport 5, goes to wish a 30-minute outing. Marc-Edouard Vlasic goes to wish to hold an analogous load. Justin Braun and Brenden Dillon will should be leaned on extra closely. And it may not damage to decorate Tim Heed as a seventh defenseman, both, if Karlsson goes to skate in Sport 6. That creates a shorter bench up entrance, however determined occasions name for determined measures.
DEPTH DELIVERYSince San Jose’s Sport 1 victory, the offense has been far too reliant on solely a handful of gamers. To wit, Karlsson, Logan Couture, Joe Thornton, Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc are the one skaters with a number of factors for the reason that begin of the second sport of the convention last. Some reward should go to the Blues’ protection for limiting the Sharks’ depth via the previous 4 video games, however at a sure level San Jose’s middle- and bottom-six wants to provide and make a distinction, one thing they merely haven’t been in a position to do.
One participant particularly who must make a larger affect on the scoresheet, other than filling up the column reserved for penalized gamers, is Evander Kane. By means of 19 video games, he’s solely dented twine twice and never a single considered one of his eight playoff factors has come previously 4 video games. Kane’s offensive efficiency – in addition to that of Gustav Nyquist, Barclay Goodrow and Brent Burns, who has just one level previously 4 video games – goes to be of utmost significance if late-game accidents to Hertl and Joe Pavelski restrict or take away one or each from Sport 6 motion fully.
HOPE FOR HEALTHSpeaking of the knocks suffered by Hertl and Pavelski, to not point out the illnesses Karlsson is preventing via, a number of the Sharks’ potential success going ahead will inevitably depend on the well being of their roster. Shedding any of the three gamers listed above can be a big blow and end in a substantial amount of lineup shuffling forward of Sport 6. And whereas which will assist one or two depth gamers get going, or set the stage for an unlikely hero, it additionally considerably limits the Sharks’ assault and places a whole lot of onus on the highest abilities who’re good to go, similar to Couture, Thornton and Meier.
The Sharks have a day to relaxation and recuperate, and the hope needs to be that Hertl and Pavelski can be cleared and in a position to contribute.
(All superior statistics by way of NaturalStatTrick)
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Tags: playoffs, san jose sharksConnect: Concerning the AuthorJared ClintonJared Clinton is a author and net editor with The Hockey Information. He is been with the workforce since 2014. He was born, raised and resides in Winnipeg, the place he will be discovered lacking the web on out of doors rinks throughout city.