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The Loser Point
Two Losses = One Win for Nearly Goal-Free Sharks
3/11/13 - By Paul Krill -

Thanks to what is known as the "loser point," the point awarded to OT and shootout losers, the Sharks' 0-2 weekend doesn't look so bad. It really works out to the equivalent of one win and one loss, when you factor in the two points.

And these two points keep the Sharks hanging on for dear life among the top 8 spots - either 7th or 8th, depending on how you look at it. Of course, it's amazing the Sharks are still in the hunt at all - it is difficult to win hockey games when you cannot score goals. The Sharks have only scored three goals (and no more than that) twice in the last 15 games. And the Sharks lost both of those games.

The Sharks have sputtered seriously since starting out 7-0. It looks like other teams have either figured out the Sharks or simply caught up to them. And the wins have stopped coming. So now, the Sharks are just 4-7-7 since that 7-0 start. Yikes - that's a lot of losses and just four wins in that span.

While goalie Antti Niemi has been great, except for about 90 seconds this past Saturday (How often have the Sharks blown two-goal leads in the past couple of seasons?), the rest of the team has failed to put the puck in the net. We look at the standings and see Chicago and Anaheim light years ahead of the Sharks. Can we even take the Sharks seriously if they even make the playoffs? Does anybody really believe the Sharks would even get out of the first round?

Well, we only need to look about 375 miles south for inspiration: Your defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings. After finishing eighth last season, the Kings got hot, hot, hot in the playoffs and steamrolled over all their opponents. This again showed how meaningless the NHL regular season can be: Just get one of the top eight spots and anything can happen.

But do we really want to make a bet that the Sharks can get that hot in May like the Kings did last year? At the rate the Sharks are going, they may not even be playing in May. Since first taking the ice in 1991, the Sharks have never once played a game in June (as in, a Stanley Cup Finals game). Given how this season is unfolding, I don't think anyone can have much confidence that this will be the magic year for the Sharks.

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