We take a look at the Sharks in ten game
increments and provide grades over that span. This report covers games 11 thru
20, which were played form November 6th thru the 26th. In that span the Sharks
went 4-5-1, which included big wins over Calgary and Minnesota. Both of those
opponents have been near the top of the Western Conference standings and were
formidable opponents for the Sharks. They also knocked off Carolina, who had
the best record in the league at the time.
This 10-game span also
included blowout losses to Colorado, St Louis, Washington and Toronto. In each
of those games, the Sharks looked overmatched. The loss to Colorado was
particularly disappointing given the Avalanche record entering that game and
the absence of several key players. Offense Grade:
In this 10-game spam the offense scored 23 goals, averaging
2.30 goals per game, which ranked 27th in comparison to other teams in the
league. Part of the slump is associated to the lack of offense being generated
by the defense.
Brent Burns the season hot and contributed 2 assists
in each of the shootout loss to New Jersey on November 6th and the win over
Calgary on November 9th. He's gone ice cold since then. Erik Karlsson missed
three games in that span because of the COVID protocol issues that plagued the
Sharks, although he did register a goal and 3 assists in the 7 games that he
did play in.
The second and third tier forwards also dipped in terms
of production. Rudolfs Balcers, Andrew Cogliano, Kevin Labanc all scored a
single goal in that span. Nick Bonino finally showed signs of life by bagging
goals against Ottawa and Toronto. Defense Grade:
The Sharks surrendered 30 goals (3.00 goals per game), which
ranked 19th in the league. The Sharks get a bit of a pass here as they lost
Karlsson, Jake Middleton, Radim Simek and Marc-Edouard Vlasic for three games
in this span to the COVID protocol.
Holding opponents to 3 goals per
game isn't a remarkable performance, but it's not the end of the world. San
Jose will have to generate more offense from their ability to stop the
opposition and move the puck out of their own end. That was clearly an issue
during this period.
When a team is struggling, exceptional goaltending can help
save the day. The Sharks didn't get that from either Adin Hill or James Reimer.
Hill played so poorly that he's likely lost the job to his veteran counterpart.
Reimer was more consistent over this span, and it looks like he's locked up the
job. Or at least until he falters. Power Play Grade:
The power play went 3-for-23 (13.0%), putting them 25th out of
the 32 teams in the league. What was a strength in the first 10 games of the
season, did an about face in the 2nd 10-game span of the season. The Sharks
moved away from tactics that tried moving the puck inside, and relied on
perimeter shooting which proved less effective. Penalty Kill Grade: B
After sitting atop the PK
rankings for most of the season, the Sharks slipped a bit. They surrendered 4
power play goals in 32 chances for an 87.5% efficiency. While not bad, it was
only 13th best in the league. A strong start to the season still has them
ranked in the top 5. The good news is all the teams who had strong spans, are
all being supported by strong penalty kill units.
If the Sharks can
maintain this, it will help them climb the standings.
Overall Grade: C
This was a tough span to
grade because the Sharks really only played 7 of those games with their
regulars. The inconsistency is the most difficult thing to parse. Beating teams
like Carolina and Calgary were impressive, then they simply failed to compete
against other lesser teams.
The good news is, they haven't fallen out
of the playoffs race 20 games into the season, unlike last year. This roster
has the tools to compete, but they must be more consistent. December offers a
home heavy schedule, although the next span of 10 games includes yet another
5-game road trip.
The jury's still out on where this team's