I guess the only positive thing about the Sharks’ loss to Calgary on Sunday was that the score wasn’t 8-0 – which it easily could have been. The Sharks will look to rebound tonight at home against the New Jersey Devils who currently sit at a league-worse 2-6-1.
Drama, to say the least, has surrounded the organization with Ilya Kovalchuk being a healthy scratch for apparently missing a meeting and talk of coach John MacLean getting fired. Devils’ GM Lou Lamoriello has since squashed those rumors, backing the decision to scratch Kovalchuk. Let’s also not forget the inevitable trade or demotion that, once the Devils are healthy, will be executed in order to get the team under the cap. It is hard to argue that these distractions are not affecting the team’s performance on the ice.
Tonight will be a good opportunity for the Sharks to try and put together a full 60 minute performance, something they didn’t do against the Flames – finding themselves down 4-0 before the game was 10 minutes in.
They can start by not taking liberties in the offensive zone that are leading to odd-man rushes going the other way. Yes, I’m specifically talking about the defense and yes I am specifically talking about Dan Boyle. Boyle is a minus-7 so far this season and continues to activate in the offensive zone. This causes confusion amongst the back-checkers and has been a problem all season.
Though he has a point per game this season, captain Joe Thornton is a minus-9 – tying for the worse in the league. He needs to show more leadership and consistency during 5 on 5 play – to state the obvious.
Antero Niittymaki is your likely starter in net tonight as Anttii Niemi was chased early surrending 3 goals on 5 shots. I will try to update the starting goalies for tonight as soon as I receive confirmation.
About the Author
Written by Alex Wasserstrom
Native Californian, former minor league pro, and current men's league superstar, Alex Wasserstrom is ProSportsBlogging.com's San Jose Sharks correspondent. Wanna talk puck? Shoot him an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or follow him on Twitter (@Awassers).