On March 17th. 2015 the Sharks will visit the Winnipeg Jets and your pal Ian is going to be Breaking It Down! This is your preview where I hope to give you some insight and opinions on not only our Sharks but their opponent of the night.
Know Your Team - The San Jose Sharks
Current Record (W-L-OTL): 34-27-8, 72 Points and 5th in the Pacific Division
Last 10 Games: 5-5-0
Power Play: 22.0% (5th.)
Penalty Kill: 79.5% (24th.)
Current Streak: Lost 1
Notes: SportsClubStats.com has our current chance to make the playoffs at 17.7%
Know Your Enemy - The Winnipeg Jets
Current Record: (W-L-OTL): 34-23-12, 80 Points and 5th in the Central Division
Last 10 Games: 4-4-2
Power Play: 18.0% (17th.)
Penalty Kill: 81.0% (19th.)
Current Streak: Won 1
Notes: SportsClubStats.com has the jets current chance to make the playoffs at 46.4%
Ian Breaks Down The Jets: The Jets have had a lot of significant players injured at the worst possible time as they try to get into the playoffs for the first time since the team moved to Winnipeg from Atlanta. It's important to note this is a team that has battled injuries all year but had not lost Dustin Byfuglien for any period of time and they are a different team with him out of the lineup. By the time they take the ice against the visiting Sharks though they could see reinforcements not only by Bufuglien but also Tyler Myers who they got in the Evander Kane block buster trade earlier in the year. The Jets currently hold the final wild card spot and are in a dog fight with the Los Angeles Kings to keep it, who unfortunately for the Jets have the superior ROW count. Starting against the Sharks will likely be Michael Hutchinson who has lost his only start against the Sharks allowing 3 goals but has put up an impressive 20-9-5 record with a 2.41 GAA and a .913 SV% and is a big reason with the Jets are in the hunt. Alternately we may see Ondrej Pavelec who in my opinion maybe the worst starting goalie in the NHL. His record against team teal is 1-3-0 with a 2.20 GAA and .926 SV% which actually isn't bad considering the 4 game sample size.
Ian Breaks Down The Sharks: While the Sharks could lose 3 more games before they are really out of the hunt this is a must win game. In order to make it into the playoffs they will have to leap frog 2 teams and there may not be a lower hanging fruit than the Jets depending on what reinforcements they get tonight. The Sharks are in a tough battle for a playoff spot, while Minnesota (83 pts, 86.6%) and Vancouver (82 pts, 94.0%) look pretty out of reach for now Calgary (81 pts, 86.7%), Los Angeles (79 pts, 66.6%) and the aforementioned Jets (80 pts, 46.4%) are still theoretically catch-able. The Sharks probably shouldn't ignore the threat of a resurgent Colorado (75 pts, 2.2%). A win in this game not only closes the gap on the Jets but lets them regain some ground they lost because of the loss to the Blackhawks. While this game alone won't cost the Sharks the season a loss will significantly hurt their already slim playoff hopes. It appears that a recent war of words between Doug Wilson and Joe Thornton has been ended with a phone call between not only the 2 parties involved but a separate call from owner Hasso Plattner. Although this will be all they talk about while the Sharks make their way through Western Canada I don't think there is anything left to see here until the off season. I expect that it will be will be Antti Niemi in goal for San Jose who in his career against the Jets has put up a mediocre 3-2-1 Record with a 2.95 GAA and a .897 SV%. Niemi is coming off a tough loss to the Blackhawks that he will need to put behind him and return to the goaltending that won the Sharks games against Pittsburgh and Nashville.
My Prediction: Sharks get back on track with a huge win to open their road trip.
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