Sharks Gameday: Purrr...edators

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7:30 PM PST
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7-7-1, 15 points 12-4-2, 26 points
12th in Western Conference
1st in Western Conference
Television
NHLN-CA, CSN-CA+
Radio
98.5 KFOX, Sjsharks.com
Antagonists
On The Forecheck

The Sharks and I have this dynamic-- when they're playing great hockey like they are right now, I'm happy as hell but have shit to write about. It's much easier as a self-loathing blogger to point to something and say, "That's what you're doing wrong and here's my idea on how to improve" compared to, "Hey that was a sweet goal there Marleau, maybe we can get a cup of coffee some time and watch The English Patient together in our jammies." It's always easier to get pissed off and moan and complain when shit hits the fan*, but on the same token, it's never a fun way to spend an evening. This is probably why a career as a male cheerleader never really appealed to me, even with the promise of pillow fights and glowing adoration from all my peers-- I would have gotten bored with the cushiness of it all.  A career as Dennis Rodman's public relations manager? Now that's something I could get into.

*I understand what the term means, but honestly, has actual shit ever hit an actual fan in the history of the universe? It's not like monkeys can pick one up on the cheap at Ikea. Then again, some people like to pee on each other. Maybe someone somewhere has thrown shit at a fan. People are strange.

At any rate, right now the Sharks are rolling like it's '08. 6-0-1 in their last seven, with the majority of these wins recorded without the services of Pavelski or Setoguchi (both will play tonight). Nabokov has been stellar in bailing the team out when they need him to, a 17 game performance that has placed him 5th in GAA and T-6th in SV% league-wide. Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley are on pace for fifty goals. Joe Thornton has done his share of easing the PK burden. Kent Huskins and Jason Demers have been a pleasant surprise. Hell, even the secondary scoring has managed to kick in a few teeth since the last time we talked, in what seems to be vast improvement in an area that San Jose needed to address from last season.


Goals Scored By Forwards


GP Goals EV G/GP TOT G/GP
Goal %
KIAFT?
2008-2009


Top Six
77.83
164 1.26 2.11 79.6% Yes.
Secondary
84.66
46 0.41 0.54 20.4% Meh.
2009-2010

Top Six
14.33
35 1.26 2.44 76.5% Yes.
Secondary
21.33
16 0.70
0.75 23.5% Yup.

EV G/GP: Even strength goals per games played TOT G/GP: Total goals per games played GOAL %: Percentage of total goals per game played KIAFT?: Kicking In A Few Teeth?


It will be interesting to see if this production holds as we move forward-- although goals per games played manages to nullify the increase in games secondary scorers have played this season, when someone like Pavelski goes down a "secondary scorer" gets bumped up into a much more favorable goal-scoring situation. Ryan Vesce's a perfect example of that-- all three of his goals have come when playing with either Thornton (2) or Marleau (1), even though he's not a top six guy when the team is healthy. It's doubtful that he will be able to continue this rate of production with Shelley and Nichol City on the fourth line.

So what does this all mean? Just that there's a small disclaimer to what may seem like overwhelmingly positive numbers on the Sharks stats page. This isn't to say I've been disappointed with the lower lines-- au contraire mon ami. You have guys flourishing in their roles whether it be playing the kill, throwing the body around on the forecheck, cycling the puck down low, winning faceoffs... the list goes on and on. Toss in the occasional puck in the net and you have me sold.

It almost makes the loss of notorious bloodhound Marcel Goc bearable. Almost.

As many of you know, I'm a huge McGinn fan. If he sticks around until the end of December I'll probably buy a jersey and wear it out on dates. Once Malhotra leaves next season because we won't be able to afford him (which is going to suck), Couture will slide into that third line center role and TCY and I will probably have to shut down the blog for a few days to sufficiently celebrate. I'm not saying that the divide between Worcester and San Jose is akin to the Berlin Wall, but it's pretty damn close. Once that is torn down for good the Sharks will probably never lose a hockey game again.

Anyways, I'm really excited that McLellan decided to keep him up with the team this shuttle around-- with how things were handled earlier this season, I'm guessing he probably just hid under the bed in his hotel room and didn't answer the phone. That's another reason I like him-- dude will do anything he can to stay on the big club, even if it means having to skip a meal or two and play tic tac toe against himself with discarded candy wrappers.

*****

Nashville is pretty hot right now, winning four out of their last five. Obviously Marcel Goc will play his first game against San Jose, with Scott Nichol and Jed Ortmeyer playing against their former team as well. David Pollak had a really good piece on Ortmeyer in the print edition this morning, covering his continuous bout with a blood-clotting disorder. Be sure to check it out.

The Predators just got Jordin Tootoo and Jason Arnott back from injury a couple games ago, but leading point scorers J.P. Dumont (11) and Shea Weber (9) both didn't play against Los Angeles. Weber is questionable for tonight, and Dumont will be out according to the Nashville Tennessean. How do you feel about facing San Jose with a depleted lineup Coach Trotz?

Trotz_100x156_medium

Well alright then.

Prediction: Sharks win 5-2. Goals by McGinn, Nichol, Ortmeyer, Heatley, and Marleau. Little known fact-- Barry Trotz's life story was adopted and rewritten as the smash hit fairy tale Three Billy Goat's Gruff.

 

Go Sharks.

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