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San Jose Sharks

Quick Thoughts: Sharks Are a Fast Team

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Credit: NBCSN

It’s just another way that this season has been so strange.

On one hand, the San Jose Sharks are just 31 games into the season, still trying to establish their identity. On the other hand, they’re more than halfway into a 56-game season, time running out on their push for the playoffs.

A 4-2 victory over Los Angeles last night kept their post-season hopes alive, but it also made obvious another piece of their identity.

In the middle frame, the Sharks and the Kings were playing a back-and-forth game, trading rush chance after rush chance. Per SPORTLOGiQ, San Jose had five Scoring Chances Off the Rush, Los Angeles four in the second period. That accounted for 9 of the entire game’s 12 All Situations rush chances. Most importantly, the home side was able to cash in on these opportunities too.

During training camp, the buzzword around the San Jose Sharks was speed.

“We’ve put in a system here, both offensively and defensively, we’re going to be a lot more aggressive in all three zones,” Bob Boughner said in January. “It’s going to speed our game up, the way we play.”

It’s worked: According to SPORTLOGiQ, San Jose is ninth in the NHL in Even Strength Shot Attempts from the Slot, Off the Rush (6.55 Per 60 – Colorado tops the league with 8.17). They’re eighth in ES Odd-Man Rushes (4.96 Per 60 – Florida paces the NHL with 6.02).

They were 26th and 29th in these respective categories under Peter DeBoer last year.

“The style we play is generally a fast style, we call it playing north. We try to attack teams with our speed,” Boughner said last night. “Personnel-wise, we’re faster. With our systems, we’re faster.”

Evander Kane agreed: “I think we’re playing faster. Part of playing fast is obviously speed, skating. But it’s also moving the puck quickly and transitioning fast. We’ve done a pretty good job of that, probably the last six games.”

A couple weeks ago, we established that the Sharks are a dangerous forechecking group – you can also add that they’re a fast team on top of that.

Quick Thoughts: Identity Found, Meier’s Mistake

Jones Watch

Boughner was impressed: “Probably the best I’ve seen him play in a long, long time. He looks confident and he looks like he’s reading the play better.”

Let’s be honest though: It’s probably not going to last.

For what it’s worth, per Evolving Hockey, this is just the fourth time in the last three years that Jones has posted four consecutive positive Goals Saved Above Expected performances: He reeled off five straight in Jan. 2019 and four consecutive in Feb. and Mar. 2019.

Will the San Jose Sharks netminder hit five in a row on Friday in Arizona?

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david barnard

agree with the general assessment that the Sharks do not play as slow or lethargically as in the past. whether they’re doing the right things at any moment is debatable, at least they’re moving their collective feet and “efforting”.

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