"If you throw pucks to the net, good things will happen" is one of the oldest axioms in hockey. Well, on Wednesday night the San Jose Sharks did nothing but throw pucks to the net—100 in total, 59 of which found their way to Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens—for the entire duration of their game in Edmonton, but no good things happened. At least not for the Sharks, who were shut out for a second game in a row courtesy a record-setting performance by the Oilers' newly-acquired netminder. It isn't remotely hyperbolic to suggest Scrivens single-handedly stole this game for the Oilers. Here, for example, are his teammates attempting to kill a penalty late in the game courtesy Z.A. Kline:
That's just a sampling of the Oilers' defensive structure in this game. They were hapless, and it led to the puck spending the vast majority of the contest in the Edmonton zone. Inexplicably, it didn't lead to an Oilers loss. A point shot from Justin Schultz in the first period, a Taylor Hall conversion of a 2-on-1 in the third and a Jordan Eberle garbage-time goal on a late power play allowed the Oil to somehow skate away victorious from a game in which they were pelted by every measure other than the scoreboard. This shot attempt chart paints the accurate picture that this game was never close in terms of which team was controlling the play:
There isn't much else to say about this game. Sure, the Sharks could have been better on their three power plays, although the aforementioned flurry in front of Scrivens on a third period man-advantage resulted in several grade-A chances. They were admittedly a bit lax when defending the dangerous Ryan Nugent-Hopkins line in the neutral zone, which led to some scary moments in the San Jose end including Hall's goal. But, seriously, 100 shot attempts should be enough to win you the game. The fact that it wasn't is a testament to an unreal performance by Scrivens and/or an epic smiting by the hockey gods.
- The most disappointing part of this game is that the Sharks were just four shots shy of the all-time single-game regulation record since the NHL began tracking shots on goal. That late Dan Boyle high-sticking penalty may have just cost them a (dubious) place in history.
- As it stands, the Sharks made it to the 50-shot mark for the fifth time this season. No other team has done that more than once.
- One of the biggest positives to take from this game (apart from the fact that the Sharks were incredibly dominant, even if they couldn't buy a break) is that Marty Havlat, in his return to the lineup after more than a month-long absence, looked...good. Really good. Like, difference-making top-six forward good. Granted, it was a game against the Oilers, but with Havlat on the ice five-on-five the Sharks controlled 80% of all shot attempts. Havlat also had four shots on goal and set up a beautiful chance for Tommy Wingels in the second period that clanged off iron as he received a promotion to the Patrick Marleau line after beginning the game on Andrew Desjardins' wing.
- Tyler Kennedy also began the game on a line with Desjardins but didn't skate a shift after the end of the first period due to an unspecified injury. It's just a revolving door of forward injuries for the Sharks at this point.
- Ben Scrivens has now stopped 97 of 99 Sharks shots this season.
- Speaking of The Professor, in typical Scrivens fashion, he appears to have confused a reporter with his vocabulary in a post-game press conference:
Scrivens pitches a 59 save shutout, and slides the term "in auspicious" into his post game. Not sure which is more impressive.— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) January 30, 2014
- In a little over 18 minutes of five-on-five ice time, David Perron was on for 21 San Jose shots and 1 Edmonton shot. Perron has been one of the Oilers' best players this season but that's ineptitude taken to another level.
FTF Three Stars
1st Star: Ben Scrivens
2nd Star: Ben Scrivens
3rd Star: Ben Scrivens