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San Jose Sharks

Preview/Lines #51: Sharks Need to Defend Off Faceoffs Better

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Credit: San Jose Sharks

There’s a lot going wrong with the San Jose Sharks, in the midst of a seven-game losing streak.

Here’s something that caught my attention in Anaheim:

Both Rickard Rakell goals (3:23 and 5:12) in a 4-3 San Jose Sharks’ shootout defeat were off lost Defensive Zone faceoffs.

“You’re gonna lose some, you’re gonna win some, it’s what you do after. Both were sorts of things that we practice and talk about every day,” Bob Boughner said after the game. “We talked about how to defend that and sharpening up and we just didn’t execute. But I don’t know if that’s the story of the game.”

Andrew Cogliano took responsibility for the second Rakell goal, but pushed back against it being a team-wide problem: “Don’t really know what happened in the first one. I think it just went off someone’s skate.

“But the second one is my fault. And that’s basically it. I don’t think the team has to be dragged into it.”

On the second Rakell goal, the veteran winger was referring to chasing a loose puck in the high slot that he probably wasn’t going to win, which left Rakell open.

So both Boughner and Cogliano downplayed the events in Anaheim, but there’s a reason why I asked about those goals against in particular.

Going into tonight, the San Jose Sharks are 32nd in the NHL in % of Defensive Zone Faceoffs Lost Resulting in a Slot Shot Attempt Against (at Even Strength). That’s a mouthful, but basically, the Sharks, when they do lose DZ faceoffs, are the most likely team in the league to give up a dangerous scoring chance.

To repeat what Boughner said: “You’re gonna lose some, you’re gonna win some, it’s what you do after.”

It’s a micro, micro stat in the macro — the San Jose Sharks are trying to avoid their eighth straight loss tonight — but it’s an interesting flaw in the Sharks’ design.

San Jose Sharks (22-22-6)

Meier-Hertl-Barabanov
Dzingel-Couture-Dahlen
Gregor-Bonino-Nieto
Cogliano-Weatherby-Viel

Middleton-Burns
Ferraro-Meloche
Vlasic-Merkley

Reimer

New York Islanders (19-20-7)

This is how they lined up in Seattle:

Where to Watch

Puck drop between the New York Islanders and San Jose Sharks is at 7:30 PM PT at SAP Center. Watch it live on NBC Sports California and ESPN+. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.

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