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Preview/Lines #37: Sharks Need Big Save, Can Kahkonen Provide It?

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

The San Jose Sharks need the big save.

Kaapo Kahkonen will get a chance to do that once again, as head coach David Quinn turns to him tonight after James Reimer got smoked 6-2 on Tuesday by the Vancouver Canucks.

Since Nov. 17, a 7-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings, the Sharks have given up four goals a game, second-worst in the NHL. Their team .868 Save % is league-worst. They’ve given up six or more goals six times in their last 18 games – they gave up that many just once in their first 18 games.

That’s on Reimer, who’s been inconsistent after a great start this year, that’s on Kahkonen, who’s struggled all year, and obviously, it’s also on the Sharks’ team defense.

For what it’s worth though, there’s an argument that the Sharks’ team defense has been about average this season. Per SPORTLOGiQ, a third-party tracking company that services 30 of the 32 teams, the Sharks are 17th in the league in Quality Chances Against, All Situations.

That’s a roughly average team defense. But the Sharks’ Save % is dead-last in the NHL.

David Quinn made what I thought was a pointed comment after the Sharks’ 6-2 loss to Canucks on Tuesday.

I asked him about his general feeling about the loss. Of course, he talked about the Sharks’ leaky team defense, and they were awful against the Canucks. But he also noted, “I thought their guy, [Spencer Martin], played really well in net.” He didn’t add any praise for Reimer.

If you think about that game, the Sharks had their share of chances too, right? The Canucks aren’t known as a great defensive team, and they weren’t great defensively against the Sharks that night. But you need your goalie to come up with not just the routine saves, but a few difference-making saves when there’s a breakdown.

I think it’s fair to say that’s been lacking for the San Jose Sharks recently.

San Jose Sharks (11-19-6)

Philadelphia Flyers (11-17-7)

Flyers vs. Oskar Lindblom’s Sharks: Lines, Notes & How to Watch

Where to Watch

The San Jose Sharks will take on the Philadelphia Flyers at 7:30 PM PST at SAP Center. Watch it live on NBC Sports California. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.

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