Just the Facts:
The Time: 10pm EST
The Place: SAP Center, San Jose, California
Place to Watch: NESN, NBCSN, SportsNet
Place to Listen: 98.5 The Sports Hub, KFOX
Opposing SBNation Blog: Fear the Fin
Know your Enemy:
- Your leader in Points for San Jose is Brent Burns, with 64 in 59 games. Your leader in goals is Joe Pavelski, who has 31 in 59 games.
- Tomas Hertle and Joe Pavelski are the two headed monster on San Jose’s power play. They both have 8 goals on the man-advantage.
- Erik Karlsson has returned from injury. He’s got 44 points in 48 games, the vast majority of which are assists.
- The Sharks are well beloved by the fancy numbers, currently topping the list in CF% and in FF%, and are 4th in xGF%. Their PDO’s under 100 too, so they’re liable to eventually get slightly better. Don’t take your eyes off these guys.
Boston is on a 5 game winning streak and riding high. And why shouldn’t they be? They’ve been beating up on teams that have struggled, have brutal flaws, or are just in shambles. They’ve had to make more out of these games than maybe they probably should have at times, but a team in 2nd place should be going on these kinds of runs on the dregs of the NHL!
Well, this is where the Bruins have to put up or shut up, because if they start slow, the fun could come to an abrupt end. This is because the San Jose Sharks are an exhausting team. To play, to watch, to presumably be a fan of...the works. Their biggest flaw is unquestionably goaltending, where neither man in net has been able to summon a consistent performance that isn’t immediately doused by an absolutely miserable performance a few nights later.
Their biggest strength on the other hand, is the absolutely relentless pace in which they play the game of hockey, and now that they just got Erik Karlsson back from an injury, they’re probably all too interested in ramping up that pace up. They’ll happily make any game they play a track meet. High-scoring? They can do that. Tight, low-scoring contests? They can do that too. Whatever kinda game you wanna have? They’ll meet you there and start doing the “On your left” bit from Captain America if you start slipping.
It shouldn’t take a genius to note what the X-factor of tonight’s contest is. The key here is a strong start to keep either Jones or Dell honest; something they have a real hard time being most of the time and keeping the pressure up. A 3rd period collapse that has characterized some games lately would be devastating.
If nothing else, this should be a must-watch just for the sheer wide range of ways this could go.