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Preview/Lines #8: Behind Hertl, Meier’s Struggles

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl are mired in dreadful slumps.

In their places, well, nobody has really stepped up. The San Jose Sharks are 32nd out of 32 NHL teams in Goals Per Game this season.

“I think if you talk to them, they’re frustrated. Sometimes, when guys are scorers, [and they] don’t get rewarded or get points, they become consumed with it. That’s something that they’re gonna to have to work through,” Quinn said after the Sharks lost a 2-1 decision to the New Jersey Devils yesterday. “Every scorer at some point goes through a little bit of a slump, and unfortunately, our guys are doing it early and together.”

He insisted that both are healthy — Meier, in particular, looked perhaps bothered by something physically yesterday — but admitted his stars are pressing: “You want to impact the game so much, you want to help your team so much, and sometimes, you force things.”

Here are some alarming small sample size stats from both, per Natural Stat Trick.

While Meier’s 5-on-5 Shot Attempts are as high as ever (21.37 Per 60 vs. 21.6 last year), not as many of his tries are finding their way to the goalie (7.94 Shots Per 60 vs. 12.54 last year). That means a lot of the winger’s attempts are missing or getting blocked. Could this be because teams are keying in on Meier as the Sharks’ clear-cut No. 1 offensive option?

As for Hertl, he’s suffered a sharp drop in 5-on-5 High-Danger chances, and Scoring Chances in general (2.63 High-Danger Per 60 vs. 4.64 last year, 3.94 Scoring Chances Per 60 vs. 9.18 last year). He’s simply not getting to his spots this year.

It’d be one thing if Hertl and Meier were buzzing, and they were just unlucky. But by their standards, especially Hertl’s, they’re barely fluttering.

“They’re great players,” Quinn said, “and we’re going to need them moving forward.”

For the 1-6-0 Sharks, ain’t that the truth?

San Jose Sharks (1-6-0)

David Quinn will speak two hours before the game. Expect James Reimer to get the start after Kaapo Kahkonen’s exemplary effort yesterday.

Philadelphia Flyers (4-1-0)

The Flyers are on a back-to-back themselves, beating the Nashville Predators in Nashville yesterday. Assuming they stick with a winning formula, but switch goalies, this is how Philly might look tomorrow:

Flyers-Preds Preview: Philly Trying to Finish 2-1 on Trip; Lineups, How to Watch

Carter Hart beat the Preds, so maybe the Sharks will draw Felix Sandstrom.

Where to Watch

The San Jose Sharks will take on the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center at 4 PM PST. Watch it live on NBC Sports California. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.

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