The San Jose Sharks are finally winning, but they’ve still got a lot to clean up.
One of many areas? Their penchant for taking early penalties.
The Sharks have taken the first minor penalty of the game, and within the first five or so minutes, eight times this season, and in the last four consecutive games.
These penalties throw you off your 5-on-5 plan, and in some cases, put you behind early.
On Oct. 27, Teuvo Teravainen scored a quick goal on the power play off a 4:50 Luke Kunin high sticking in a 3-0 Carolina Hurricanes shutout. On Nov. 2, Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller struck off a 1:09 Nico Sturm double-minor in a 10-1 Vancouver Canucks rout. The following game, Reilly Smith put one on the board off an 00:49 Anthony Duclair roughing in a 10-2 Pittsburgh Penguins stroll.
“With where we’re at mentally, really, you could feel it on the bench, deflated us. We never recovered,” Quinn said of the early 2-0 deficit versus Vancouver, though he may as well have been speaking about the other games too.
The flip side, you kill these early penalties, maybe you build a little momentum like the Sharks have after a 5:24 Duclair tripping in the 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday and after a 2:13 Nikita Okhotiuk slashing in the 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.
San Jose’s penalty kill has been perfect in these last two wins.
But you don’t want to chance fate. And these quick penalties speak to a team behind the eight-ball from the drop of the puck in most games.
San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn has addressed this with his team: “We don’t want to take these penalties. A couple of them, I could question some of the calls. But at the end of the day, we can’t put ourselves in that position.”
San Jose Sharks (2-10-1)
Quinn confirms that Kahkonen will start. Possible line-up changes tonight with some health questions
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) November 10, 2023
Vegas Golden Knights (11-2-1)
Where to Watch
Puck drop between the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights is 7:00 PM PT at T-Mobile Arena. Watch it live on NBC Sports California. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.
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