On March 3rd the Sharks will visit The Vancouver Canucks and your pal Ian is going to be Breaking It Down! This is your official game preview blog of IanBlogsSharks.blogspot.ca as well as the officially unofficial game preview post for anywhere else it finds itself posted. Its purpose is to give 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): 31-24-8, 70 Points and 5th in the Pacific Division
Last 10 Games: 3-6-1
Power Play: 21.0% (8th.)
Penalty Kill: 81.9% (14th.)
Current Streak: Won 1
Notes: http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL.html has the Sharks odds of making the playoffs at 24.5% up 7.1% from before their victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
Know Your Enemy - The Vancouver Canucks
Current Record: (W-L-OTL): 36-23-3, 75 Points and 2nd in the Pacific Division
Last 10 Games: 7-3-0
Power Play: 13.3% (28th.)
Penalty Kill: 79.7% (23rd.)
Current Streak: Lost 1
Notes: Vancouver is almost certain to be in sporting a 96.1% chance of seeing post season action.
Ian Breaks Down The Canucks: It's the battle of the western conference playoff pretenders as I feel like these teams are not built to go very far if they both in fact get in. The Canucks had a pretty quiet trade deadline picking up flames prospect Sven Baertschi for a 2nd round pick showing that they are still commited to a rebuild although they might be slightly ahead of schedule. Fortunately for the Sharks although the Canucks may not be caught in the standings when it's all said and done they are pretty injury rattled missing starting goaltender Ryan Miller, Alex Burrows and Kevin Bieksa among other regular roster players. The Canucks are going with once highly touted prospect Jacob Marksrtom tonight who will be seeing his first bit of NHL action. His career NHL numbers are 12-27-5 record with a 3.19 GAA and a .896 SV% most of which was on a bad Florida Team who tried to rush his development a few times. Still despite that I think Markstrom is incredibly overrated as he has done well in the AHL but can't seem to convert that to an NHL game. Although at 25 may be too soon to call his career dead.
Ian Breaks Down The Sharks: The sharks are playing their second game in two nights and coming off a big win over the Montreal Canadiens, was this a statement win or just another win in a sea of losses? That's what we all hope to get the answer to tonight hoping that last night was the start of a push. Currently the Sharks are tied for 2nd in the pacific with the Calgary Flames (65.4%) and the Los Angeles Kings (55.9%) both of whom are also in action tonight. So that I'm sure begs the question if we are tied why are the Kings and Flames sitting with better percentages to make the playoffs? The answer to that is twofold first the Sharks have played two more games than the Flames and Kings so if all 3 teams went the rest of the year without losing a game the Sharks run out of road first and the Kings and Flames would finish 4 points ahead. The other reason is that despite playing fewer games the Flames are already beating is in the ROW (Regulation and Overtime Win) Column which is the first tie breaker and the Kings although having one fewer ROW have the games in hand. Ben Smith had an outstanding debut for the Sharks which made everyone forget that DW probably got less than most expected for the assets he parted with but it looks like at least in one game that this is one deal he might have hit out of the park. Sharks are going to have to come out strong playing their second games in back to backs and Antti Niemi needs to be sharp. The Sharks need to try to get to Jacob Markstrom who is playing in his first NHL contest this year early and often.
My Prediction: I hate when the sharks play un-established goaltenders, but they win this game because they have too.
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What are your thoughts on this upcoming game?