The San Jose Sharks slump has seen them lost six straight games and they cannot be happy about that fact at all. Just two weeks ago, the Sharks have been in the pole position to win the Western Conference. The Sharks want to finally make their playoff presence count as there is a feeling they have the best team in years. The San Jose Sharks slump has come at the worst possible time. In addition, the Sharks are missing their two big leaders.
San Jose Sharks Slump Comes To Halt Their Hopes
On March 12, the Sharks were playing on back-to-back nights against the Winnipeg Jets. Captain Joe Pavelski scored a game-winner just five seconds before the end of the third period. The Sharks have won their sixth straight game that time and led the Western Conference in a tight race with the Calgary Flames. Ever since that win, it has been a disastrous stretch for San Jose.
They returned home from the road trip and lost the first game against the Florida Panthers. Then the Sharks lost another home contest versus the Nashville Predators. With two-game losing skid, the Sharks went on to face the Vegas Golden Knights, the team, which eliminated them from the playoffs last year. And the Golden Knights won it 7-3 at SAP Center. In addition to this horrible three-game homestand, Joe Pavelski went down injured.
The Sharks embarked on a short two-game road swing. It really hasn’t taken that long for them to travel as they visited the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks on the back-to-back nights. Despite facing the two worst teams in the Western Conference, the Sharks were able just to claim one single point from four available. When they returned back home on Monday, they lost to the Detroit Red Wings, another team in the race for being the worst team in the NHL during the present season. Has the San Jose Sharks slump reached it’s worst point?
Playoff Implications Complicated for San Jose Sharks
The Sharks seemed to be red-hot and in the driver´s seat to claim the Western Conference. Having a home-ice advantage in the playoffs seems to be very vital for the Sharks. Under the Head Coach Peter DeBoer, the Sharks have never lost a playoff series played with the home-ice advantage. But in fact, they had just one playoff series with the home ice in DeBoer´s era.
The dream of finishing top of the Western Conference has vanished for the Sharks. The Flames sit on the first place in the West win six-point advantage over San Jose and they hold the tiebreaker as well. It´s almost sure that the Sharks won’t end up as the best team in the West. But then there are the Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights have been pretty much red-hot with a 10-2-1 record over their past 13 games.
Luckily for the Sharks, who sit on 95 points, Vegas has lost its´ past two meetings as they still sit on 90 points in the standings. On March 13, the Sharks had 94 points and the Golden Knights had 81 points. To think that the Sharks might even start the playoff series versus the Golden Knights in Las Vegas is almost incredible. Both teams have still one head-to-head meeting left to play on Saturday in San Jose.
Injured Stars Bothering the Sharks
One can say that after all, it doesn’t depend that much on where the teams finish in the regular season. The most important thing is to get to the post-season and the Sharks have been able to accomplish that, they clinched the playoff berth for the fourth straight season. However, the San Jose Sharks slump combined with their injuries is the bothering point for them.
As stated higher, captain Joe Pavelski has missed past four games due to a lower-body injury. Pavelski has scored 37 goals in the season compared to the goal-total of 22 from the previous campaign. He was on the pace for 40 goals on the year. Reaching 40 goals in one regular season is something that Pavelski accomplished just once in his career, five years ago.
Last time Erik Karlsson has been in the Sharks uniform, it was Brad Marchand undressing him in a game at TD Garden against the Boston Bruins on February 26. Ever since that incident, Karlsson has not played for the Sharks. The Swedish defenceman has missed the past 12 games and there is a possibility that he won’t play again this regular season.
Erik Karlsson (groin) is no longer skating every day, per DeBoer, as his rehab continues. The hope remains, though, that he’ll play before the regular season ends #SJSharks
— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzNHL) 26. marca 2019
Sharks got Erik Karlsson out of the Ottawa Senators last summer. Huge trade involved forwards Chris Tierney and Rudolfs Balcers, defenseman Dylan DeMelo, prospect Josh Norris, and a conditional 2019 second-round selection and a 2020 first round draft selection going to Ottawa.
San Jose Sharks Trying To Solve Their Issues
Potentially not having the home-ice advantage in the playoffs is one thing. Missing important players like Erik Karlsson or Joe Pavelski is a different thing. Another problem for the Sharks, however, has been their recent play. After losing all three games during the homestand, they knew that the response is required, mainly when they faced the opponents like the Ducks or the Red Wings.
The San Jose Sharks slump comes because they just could not respond accordingly. The game against Detroit on Monday night has been disastrous mainly defensively for San Jose. The Red Wings practically scored from three breakaways as the Sharks have really left a ton of the ice open for Detroit´s forwards to skate in and get the chance all night long.
Now the Sharks will have a very important homestand continuing for them. They will face the Vegas Golden Knights and the Calgary Flames later during this week. Those two games will be huge measuring sticks for the Sharks to try and solve their issues.
The Sharks have been a good team all season long. They are +28 in goal differential, while their CF% is at 54,54. The recent San Jose Sharks slump combined with injuries can leave a big mark on rather a successful campaign for the Sharks.