On February 2nd 2015 the Sharks will play host to The Edmonton Oilers and you 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): 27-17-6, 60 Points and 2nd in the Pacific Division
Last 10 Games: 6-3-1
Power Play: 21.0% (8th.)
Penalty Kill: 81.9% (14th.)
Current Streak: 3 game winning streak.
Notes: Sharks are ahead of Vancouver by 3 points but Vancouver once again has 2 games in hand.
Know Your Enemy - Edmonton Oilers
Current Record: (W-L-OTL): 13-28-9, 35 Points and 7th in the Pacific Division
Last 10 Games: 4-6-0
Power Play: 13.3% (28th.)
Penalty Kill: 79.7% (23rd.)
Current Streak: 1 game losing streak
Notes: The Edmonton Oilers are dead last in the west, second last in the NHL and have the 3rd worse goal differential at -51
Ian Breaks Down The Oilers: Edmonton continues to exist as a cautionary tale that just because you bottom out and get a ton of top prospects does not mean that you get to become the Chicago Blackhawks. The Oilers problems are many, they are filled with NHL ready top flight forwards but their defense is poor and their goaltending is not good enough on most nights to steal them games. Their defense will get better once guys like Darnell Nurse are able to make the jump to the big club provided he fills out a bit however not being a hot free agent destination the Oilers have had to make due with what they can draft. There are a few major issues with this teams construction obviously but they been impatient with coaching going through at least 4 in the last 6 years and the kids that they expected to carry the load got paid before they really did anything to earn it. If you look at other teams that have built up through the draft even first overall picks usually have to earn their ice time before they earn their pay checks, a guy like Taylor Hall for example really earned either. There is also the problem of not enough top quality mid level veterans around to help the kids grow.... and all the kids have ever known is losing. It will be interesting to see what this team does going into the trade deadline and into next year. Do they start over again? Time will tell. I expect Ben Scrivens to get the start who despite what was a record breaking performance against the sharks at the time has a losing 2-4-1 record with a 3.13 GAA and a .909 SV%.
Ian Breaks Down The Sharks: The Sharks are coming off of a big winning streak against 3 of their most fierce rivals picking up an important 6 points. While I don't like their odds against Chicago in a 7 game series after their last game the games against the Kings and Ducks were far more convincing. Now is the real test though as silly as this sounds, with every point mattering will the Sharks keep doing the things that are working and hot against the Oilers or will they relax and take a night off. That's the problem with this team they are not consistent and while all good teams lose to bad teams sometimes the Sharks have lost to bad teams way too often this year. There is a lot of talk about what exactly this team is in regards to pretenders or contenders and personally I have felt pretty down on this team when it comes to their ability to claim the ultimate prize, but a good win here after the last 3 games will definitely start to sway me other direction. Sharks added to their list of wounded with McGinn sitting out for this game, Kennedy will re-enter the lineup. Hannan who was questionable for this game is back in for another round of the greatest defense pair in Sharks history with Irwin manning the other side (who has actually been ok of late). I expect Niemi to get the start after his excellent game in Chicago but this is also a great opportunity to get him some rest and Stalock a start so we shall see.
My Prediction: Some people just want to watch the world burn....
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?