March 23rd, 2012, 8:29 am
After two terrible games against division opponents this week, the Sharks staunch the bleeding somewhat by edging the defending champs, the Bruins, 2-1. Just when you think the Sharks are ready to give up the ghost, they come back like a Monty Python sketch. “But I don’t want to go in the cart! I’m not dead.”
There are still several signs that are very troubling about this team, mostly in the scoring department. The last time the Sharks won a game by more than one goal was five weeks ago, against the Caps (thanks Kevin Kurz). That’s also the last time the Sharks have scored more than three goals in a win. The last time they scored more than three goals period was also five weeks ago, in a 6-5 loss in OT to the Lightning. That’s 18 games ago, almost a quarter of the season. In those 18 games where the Sharks didn’t score more than three, they scored three goals (supposedly the magic number) only four times. Let’s put that a different context. In the 55 games previous to that, the Sharks scored 3 or more goals 33 times, or 60% of the time. That doesn’t include wins like 2-1, 2-0, etc. Since, the Sharks have scored three or more goals only 22% of the time. That’s not a decline. That’s an anvil falling out of the sky.
The good thing about last night is they stayed step for step with the Stanley Cup Champions, and the 4th line was more than just a non-liability. They were an asset, matching up well with the Bruins very respectable fourth line of Dan Paille, Shawn Thornton and Greg Campbell. The bad thing is the Sharks still are not scoring in bunches. They score once, have some good quality chances not go in, then slowly fade. Whether they hold on or chip in another one seems to be a coin flip at best. Looking at the stat sheet, another bad thing was the return of Michal Hanzus. He was -1, and lost 5 of the 7 faceoffs he took. T.J. Galiardi can’t come back fast enough.
There’s no more time for the Sharks to turn this around. They have to be going in the right direction now. Another game or two of disappointing losses will put them in an ugly position to make the playoffs. Let’s hope the win against Boston was the turn, and now the Sharks are sailing in clear waters and strong wind to the finish line.