Thursday, April 12, 2018
Sunday, April 8, 2018
That's typical DeBoer, who has been a calm voice of reason behind the Sharks bench ever since he came to the Sharks three seasons ago. There's no panic in he head coach and there's no panic in this team, which has suffered its fair share of adversity this season and always found a way to come up big at gut check time. It's been a surprisingly successful season for the Sharks in a lot of ways. The team entered this year with so many question marks about how they would replace Patrick Marleau's production and many feared that they'd be too old and too slow to compete. But contributions from Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Joakim Ryan have made the future look a lot brighter. There were bumps in the road early, but as the season has progressed, the Sharks have developed into a team that has the potential to make a playoff run. But it's easier said than done now that they have been forced on the road against a very dangerous Anaheim team. The Ducks finished the season on an an 10-1-1 tear and look very much like a team that is peaking at the right time. Like the Sharks they are a stingy team that relies on scoring by committee and a well-balanced attack. The team's first playoff meeting since 2009 should be a physical, edgy battle with plenty of tight-checking and low-scoring games. Here's 9 Keys to the Series Evander Kane's Health Evander Kane has 14 points in seven games with the Sharks and he provided the team a huge boost when he was first acquired from Buffalo at the trade deadline. Kane was flying everywhere, generating zone entries with his speed and shot attempts by virtue of his willingness to go anywhere to chase a play. And he hit everything that moved. The Sharks looked so good with Kane in full flight on Joe Pavelski's line and he seemed to serve as an emotional conduit, with the whole team ratcheting up their physicality and follow his lead. But Kane has picked up an injury and has not been the same over the last week. He skipped a pair of games before returning for the season finale on Saturday, but he has still been unable to match the intensity that he had through most of March. Kane has been held scoreless (minus-3) in those final three games and the Sharks need him to get healthy in order to have an edge over Anaheim. How serious is his injury? What EVEN IS THE INJURY? We likely will never know the latter, but hopefully the former question will be answered on Thursday night. Oh, by the way, San Jose is 11-5-1 with Kane in the lineup this season. Chris Tierney, Mikkel Boedker Need to come through One of the unsung heroes of the Sharks this season has been Chris Tierney, and he needs to continue to impress because the Sharks are going to need strong play from all four of their forward lines to hold the Ducks at bay. Anaheim boasts a third line of Adam Henrique, Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie, and that line has provided the Ducks with a lot of spark down the stretch. Depth scoring will be so critical in this series, and so will defensive zone draws and coverage. Mikkel Boedker will also need to keep playing well. The Dane has been the Sharks No.2 point producer at 5-on-5 since Thornton went down with his MCL injury. If Boedker disappears, as he has done so often over the last few seasons in San Jose, it will hurt.
"One game doesn't define our season." Peter DeBoer with a positive outlook after tonight's loss pic.twitter.com/l15wEar9cZ— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) April 8, 2018
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Meier is second to Joe Pavelski (17) with 15 5-on-5 goals this season. He may have only picked up one assist last night but he once again showed why he is becoming a force for the Sharks, particularly in the first period. 2. Paul Martin is Improving Martin has had four games alongside Brent Burns and he's been a +1 each game and has looked better with more ice time. The 37-year-old played a season-high 17:19 on Saturday and seems to be getting his legs beneath him. Not saying he's going to be a world-beater, but he might be making Peter DeBoer think about what he's going to do when Joakim Ryan gets healthy. At the very least Martin will provide some nice depth for the playoffs, which is far better than Sharks fans could have hoped for when Martin was playing for the Barracuda and looking like he was headed for a trade or a buyout this winter. In four games since returning to the lineup, Martin has been on ice for four goals for and zero against at 5-on-5--hard to complain about that too much. 3. Burns Busting Records Like a Boss Remember back in November when we were wondering if Brent Burns would ever score let alone be the Sharks point leader in late March? Well there he is, tied for the team lead in scoring with 60 points. On Saturday Burns broke the Sharks all-time assist record for defenseman with his 49th helper. Since January 1st Burns leads all NHL defenseman with 35 points. He's also a plus-1 in that span, compared to minus-16 before the new year. Burns has also been solid on the defensive end of late. Last night he showed some nice awareness on a two-on-one against by taking away the pass to Mikael Backlund and letting Kevin Labanc handle the shooter Troy Brouwer with back pressure. It was the type of play where Burns could have easily tried to do too much (think sprawl out face-first or overplay the shooter) but he showed some real poise and let Martin Jones do his job and make the save (good plan these days, and we'll get to Jones in a bit). These good numbers are coming for Burns despite the fact that he is shooting at 3.6 percent this year compared to 9.1 percent last season. 4. Martin Jones stopped 37 of 38 shots for his sixth consecutive win Jones has been a horse of late and he's on a six-game winning streak (6-0-0) in his last six with a .922 save percentage and a 2.32 GAA. Jones current save percentage of .918 would match his career-best if the season ended today.
Timo Meier, 5-on-5, last year vs. this year: pic.twitter.com/5ac3Q6VwkF— Chris Oddo (@TheFanChild) March 25, 2018
Parting Notes: Evander Kane remains a terror in teal Oh my word how good has Evander Kane been for the Sharks. He nets another pair of goals and continues to play his very unique brand of disruptive smashmouth hockey for the Sharks. He's been a joy to watch and his stats have been a joy to look at--7 goals and 5 assists since coming to San Jose at the trade deadline. He's had good chemistry with Joe Pavelski and he is constantly wreaking havoc in the offensive zone even when he isn't generating points. He's the type of guy that would be pure misery to play against. Since the trade deadline, Kane has put up 1.98 Goals/60, good for 5th in the NHL in that span (min 100 min TOI).
Jannik Hansen scores 2nd goal in 3 games. GREAT DANE, GREAT DANE 🇩🇰😁 pic.twitter.com/nhm6QVRKRE— Dee ☕ (@forevercanuck) March 24, 2018
Monday, March 19, 2018
If you are wondering about how the career of Jarno Kultanen turned out--he scored 13 points in 102 NHL games for the Bruins over three seasons. Think Donato's got him beat... 2. Thomas Vanek, Bruin killer Vanek now has 70 points in 64 games vs. Bruins after notching his 20th of the season during Columbus' 5-4 overtime win on Monday. And yes, it was a sick deflection.
Not a surprise. Ryan Donato gets his first NHL goal in his first NHL game. pic.twitter.com/w3rKn4EDRG— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) March 20, 2018
5. Woeful Habs shut out again The Montreal Canadiens were shut out for a team record 12th time on Monday night at Bell Centre, 2-0 by the Panthers. Florida has now shut the Habs out three times in four meetings this season. Montreal averages 2.47 goals per game, and ranks 29th in the NHL with 170 total goals. 6. Another milestone for Luongo Roberto Luongo made 28 saves to record his 76th career shutout and move into a tie with Tony Esposito and Ed Belfour for ninth on the NHL's all-time list. Luongo, 38, is fourth on the NHL's all-time win list with 468, just 16 wins behind Ed Belfour for third. 7. The Preds are in a league of their own With tonight's win in Buffalo, the Predators now have points in 15 consecutive games (14-0-1) which sets a franchise record (In 2015-16, the Predators went 9-0-5 over a 14-game stretch). The Predators have also earned points in 15 consecutive road games, which extends a franchise record and have won nine straight away from home, another club record.
So, 39 goals now for 33-year-old Eric Staal. Market wasn't huge for him on July 1, 2016, teams worried about his declining game or so it seemed at the time. The Wild take a chance at $3.5 M per year. What a bargain, as it turns out. https://t.co/gOrFIO4s0c— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) March 20, 2018
Nashville has scored 59 goals and allowed 27 during the streak. Victor Arvidsson has caught fire for Nashville over the course of the streak, leading the team with 8 goals and 18 points in the 15 games. Rinne has gone 11-0-0 with a .950 save percentage and a 1.64 GAA (plus three shutouts). 8. Ekman-Larsson scores 100th career goal Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored the game-winner in Arizona's 5-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Monday. OEL becomes just the 6th Swedish defenseman to reach 100 goals, per Craig Morgan of AZ Sports. The others? Nicklas Lidström (264), Börje Salming (150), Fredrik Olausson (147), Calle Johansson (119), Erik Karlsson (125).
Pekka Rinne improved to 40-9-4 in 2017-18 and earned the third 40-win season of his career, trailing only Martin Brodeur for the most such seasons in NHL history. #NHLStats #NSHvsBUF pic.twitter.com/ic0rZ99Fvn— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 20, 2018
9. Flames powerless Calgary’s powerplay has gone completely invisible, and their playoff chances are taking a hit as a result. In their last 11 games, the Flames have gone 1 for 33 with the man advantage. Calgary is 3-7-1 over that stretch. The Flames are six out of the wild card with two teams (St. Louis and Dallas) between them and a playoff spot. They have nine games left to play.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson just rifled it past Mike Smith for his 100th career goal. How sweet it is, eh?— Catherine Silverman (@catmsilverman) March 20, 2018
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Thursday, January 4, 2018
Do they want that? Apparently yes. Mayfield's signing doesn't provide any short-term relief to a defense that is reeling with the losses of Calvin de Haan and Johnny Boychuk. It was pretty obvious when Travis Hamonic was dealt in the off-season that the Islanders were going to have a thin blue line but without their second and third best blue liners they look just plain abysmal and it's hard to say if Mayfield is doing much to help the cause. A quick check of Natural Stat Trick shows that Mayfield has done okay from an analytical perspective, and that's nice. He's actually leading the Islanders in 5-on-5 points per 60, goals per 60 and assists per 60, which is remarkable when you think about it.
Five more years!!!!! #isles— Scott Mayfield (@scottmayfield2) January 4, 2018
You have to consider these numbers a pro for Mayfield, who has been on ice for 20 goals for and 20 goals against while at 5-on-5 this season. He hasn't been killing the Islanders but he doesn't seem to be a great fit with New York's style, which revolves around quick transition and is pretty complex for a slow-footed player like Mayfield. To his credit he's pretty sound positionally but he often times looks overmatched in one-on-one battles, particularly those that revolve around quickness or puck savvy. In other words, yes, he's physical and can separate an attacker from the puck, but how often is he able to get into position to do that separation against better players? Maybe it won't matter because Mayfield is being signed to play third-pair minutes, but it is concerning to see how much penalty kill time he's getting. He averaged 1:40 of shorthanded ice time per game in December and the Islanders penalty kill was an absolute train wreck, putting up a 64.3 percent kill rate for the month. Blame the goaltending all you want, but you could also point at Mayfield being overmatched when facing elite players while shorthanded. Bottom line: It's not the end of the world. This is a small deal and it doesn't really change anything in Brooklyn. The Islanders need to updgrade their d by trade or this season will be lost and no pep talk by Doug Weight is going to change that fact. How do they do it? I'll leave it up to everybody on twitter. Hit me up: @TheFanChild. Mayfield has played 65 NHL games and hopes are that he'll improve. He has the size, the attitude and the tenaciousness to be a solid third-pair defender. He can be better on breakouts. He can be a lot quicker at reading and reacting to developing danger. He can have better gaps and be a more powerful skater. These are the things he'll have to figure out to help the Islanders. Personally, think the Islanders are in a lot more danger defensively than they even realize. I'm not convinced that Ryan Pulock, Mayfield or Seidenberg have what it takes to be effective NHLers at any spot on the depth chart. de Haan could be gone after the season and Hickey as well. It leaves the Islanders with three defenseman--Nick Leddy, Johnny Boychuck and Adam Pelech--that have promise. Some might disagree on Pelech, but I think he's solid and getting better. I actually like him as a very good third pair player down the road. As for the second pair, New York better start shopping while at the same time hoping that Devon Toews and Mitchell Vande Sompel are ready to fulfill their promise in the not too distant future. They've got draft picks that they will either need to use on drafting some high quality defensemen or parlay to improve the term short-term. Four picks in the first two rounds of the 2018 draft is nothing to scoff at--Garth Snow should be able to upgrade his team through trade and still have retain a few of those picks. It makes sense for the Isles to lock up Mayfield for the forseeable future because it gives them some depth at the position for a very low price. AT the very worst the Islanders have a No.7 defenseman who is ready to play on any given night. If he improves and Garth Snow looks smart, hey it wouldn't be the first time.
The craziest thing is the Mayfield leads the #Isles D in points per 60, goals per 60 and assists per 60 at 5-on-5. So maybe my eyeball test has failed. Just always looks a step slow to me. pic.twitter.com/fv3WKgtbVo— Chris Oddo (@TheFanChild) January 4, 2018