On February 5th the Sharks will visit The Vancouver Canucks and your pal Ian is going to be Breaking It Down! This is your semi regular officially unofficial game preview post that gives you some quick numbers and my opinions on not only our Sharks but their opponent of the night.
Know Your Team - The San Jose Sharks
Current Record (W-L-OTL): 27-18-7, 61 Points and 3rd in the Pacific Division
Last 10 Games: 5-3-2
Power Play: 21.0% (8th.)
Penalty Kill: 81.7% (16th.)
Current Streak: 2 losses, 1 in a shootout.
Notes: The Sharks have a .500 winning percentage on the road with a 13-10-3 record.
Know Your Enemy - The Vancouver Canucks
Current Record: (W-L-OTL): 28-18-3, 59 Points and 4th in the Pacific Division
Last 10 Games: 5-5-0
Power Play: 18.3% (26th.)
Penalty Kill: 86.3% (4th.)
Current Streak: 1 game winning streak
Notes: The Canucks who have played 3 fewer games than the Sharks but only have 2 fewer points.
Ian Breaks Down The Canucks: I have drawn parallels in previous posts to other teams but I don't think there is an easier one to draw to the Sharks than the Vancouver Canucks. In my opinion they both finish inside the playoffs and your truly pegged the 'nucks as a playoff team in the summer, but I don't know who the bigger pretender is between these two teams. While goal differential does not tell the whole story the Canucks sit at a +8 and have liked the Sharks stumbled around losing 5 of their last 10. Opposite to the sharks though they have beaten teams they should beat while losing to arguably better teams (Ducks, Lightning and Predators). However this team is still transitioning and new GM Jim Benning under the watchful eye of Trevor Linden appear to be heading in the right direction, I have really liked a lot of his moves this year. Signing Ryan Miller was an important step to putting the Luongo / Schneider saga in the rear view mirror. Speaking of Ryan Miller expect him to get the start and he has been nothing short of a Shark killer in his career going a disgusting 9-1-0 with a 2.05 GAA and .937 SV% and in our last meeting this year he allowed only one goal on 32 shots for a .969 SV%.
Ian Breaks Down The Sharks: The Sharks have pretty much erased most of the good will built up with their 3 impressive wins near the end of the home stand. I didn't see much of the Flames game to be completely honest with you but I can tell you I didn't like what I saw. Stalock had another game to forget and while as many have pointed out the loss was hardly all on him I think anyone taking an objective look at this team shouldn't be penciling him in as the starter for next year. Although a small sample size his career numbers are sliding down to his AHL numbers which are below average for an NHL starter. I'm not trying to bag on the guy, I like Stalock but the numbers are what they are. The Sharks need more consistent production from their top 6, I find the bottom has really kept this team a float. I mentioned Ryan Millers record against the Sharks above, that needs to end, this could be a first round opponent depending on how things finish and the Sharks need to have confidence that they can beat Ryan Miller and win games. The Sharks are running out of road for bad games although they have a gap between them and some of the formerly bottom feeding teams it gets smaller with every loss. The Canucks will still have 3 games in hand after tonight if they are able to tie us with 61 they have more road to bumble around than we do and that could be the difference between home ice, which has been slightly better than the road this year. These are important 2 points, they are all important 2 points now and the Sharks need to play for 60 minutes every night and what better place than here, what better time than now...
My Prediction: It turns out that both teams are the same and making contact causes the universe to divide by zero thus ending everything and yet the Sharks still find a way to lose because Ryan Miller hates us.
Remember if you have a question you would like me to answer in the Breaking It Down blog please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you want to read previous blogs please check out http://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca
What are your thoughts on tonight's game?