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Playoff Watch/Lines #43: Sharks Need Finishers

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Credit: NBCS Bay Area

The sixth-seeded San Jose Sharks remain four points out of the fourth-and-final playoff spot in the West, held by the St. Louis Blues. Fifth-place Arizona and St. Louis are both idle tonight.

San Jose Sharks (18-20-4)

Minnesota Wild (25-13-3)

Kirill Kaprizov — Victor Rask — Mats Zuccarello
Kevin Fiala — Ryan Hartman — Marcus Johansson
Jordan Greenway — Joel Eriksson Ek — Marcus Foligno
Zach Parise — Nico Sturm — Nick Bonino

Ryan Suter — Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin — Matt Dumba
Ian Cole — Carson Soucy

Cam Talbot

Where to Watch

Puck drop is 5 PM PT at Xcel Energy Center. Watch it on NBC Sports Bay Area, Bally Sports North, or NHL.tv.

Morning Skate

News flash: The San Jose Sharks need finishers.

I mean, doesn’t everybody?

But maybe they need them just a little bit more: Per Natural Stat Trick, the San Jose Sharks suffer from the second-greatest disparity between their Expected Goals at 5-on-5 Per 60 and their Actual Goals:

Team (5v5)GF/60xGF/60Difference
Carolina Hurricanes2.312.54-0.23
San Jose Sharks2.272.45-0.18
Buffalo Sabres1.862.04-0.18
New Jersey Devils2.192.33-0.14
Vancouver Canucks2.252.32-0.07

This means they’re earning their fair share of quality chances, but they’re cashing in at a lower rate than expected.

These analytics are also supported by the micro-stats. SPORTLOGiQ supplies San Jose Hockey Now with 10 team statistics for Creating Scoring Chances Per 60 at Even Strength – the Sharks rank in the top-half or better in the league in 9 of 10 of these categories:

For San Jose, the offensive foundation, set by Bob Boughner and his coaching staff in their first full season behind the bench, appears to be there, but the finish isn’t – the Sharks are 19th in the NHL in Even Strength Goals Per 60.

The San Jose Sharks will have a lot to fix up this off-season – the leaky goaltending, the porous team defense, the eye-sore contracts – but adding another finisher should be on that list too.

Around the NHL

The Vancouver Canucks will return to play on Sunday, but star Elias Pettersson may be done for the season. In other news…

Avalanche games through April 20 postponed

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