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Early Diagnosis: Mediocrity
Slumping Sharks can't score
11/20/16 - By Paul Krill -

OK, so it's probably too early to panic. But what we've seen so far from this year's Sharks team has them on a downward trajectory. As in, if this keeps up, we can forget about another fourth-round appearance in the playoffs this year. Or anything close to that.

According to, the Sharks one year ago on November 20 had played 19 games and had a record of 11 wins and 8 losses amounting to 22 points. On this same date this year, the Sharks were 9 wins and 8 losses with one overtime loss for 19 points. More alarmingly, the Sharks had scored 51 goals and let in 47 by this time in 2015. This year? Forty-one goals scored and 42 allowed. Yikes.

That is quite a drop-off in scoring. In fact, the Sharks are one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league, as if you needed me to tell you that. They have already been shut out three times. Backup goaltender Aaron Dell played great in goal against the Hurricanes a few nights ago only to skate away as the loser since the one goal he did let in was enough for the Sharks to lose the game.

We're going to need the Sharks to snap out of this low-scoring funk. Obviously, games won't be won if the Sharks continue to score barely two goals per game. Maybe more home-cooking help the team score. The Sharks so far have played a very road-heavy schedule and that is about to change. But will it make a difference?

The Sharks were pummeled at home by the Penguins 5-0 a couple weeks ago. Home, road - it makes no difference: If you do not score you will not win. Perhaps help will be on the way soon in the form of somebody like 2015 #1 draft pick Timo Meier, who has three goals and six points and is +3 in nine games with the Barracuda.

Or perhaps he is just not ready yet. The Sharks are going to have to figure out how to put the puck in the net more often or the team could find itself in a three-season sandwich situation - missing the playoffs two years ago followed by getting to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2016 followed by missing the playoffs again in 2017. Let's hope it does not come to that

. . .Penalty Shots: It is so disappointing to have a fine young player like Tomas Hertl getting injured so frequently. He was injured his rookie year and then again during the 2016 Cup Finals and now, again. Maybe I'm just used to Patrick Marleau, who seems like he has missed pretty much zero time due to injuries since 1997.

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