The Sharks have only scored three power play goals and haven't scored one since Joe Thornton potted one on Oct. 12 against the Washington Capitals. The other two power-play goals came in the season opener against the Kings. You likely already know this if you follow any Sharks writer — this is the kind of state reporters love to tweet every time a power play goes dry.
It's also a deeply flawed way to discuss the health of a power play. Anyone who's watched hockey knows great looking power plays often don't turn into goals — and most are smart enough to know a power play can be good without a goal being scored. The Sharks power play may not be the talk of the league at the moment, but there's reason to believe team teal will bounce back.
For one thing, the Sharks currently sit eleventh in high quality scoring chances for per 60 minutes. With the talent the Sharks have on the ice, you'd like to see them a bit higher, of course, but that leads into my second point: we're talking about a tiny sample size. San Jose hasn't quit drawn penalties at the clip we've become accustomed to this season. In fact, NHL.com lists the Sharks at 26th in power play opportunities.
So...maybe falling over a bit easier is the answer?
Joking aside, this can probably also (in part) be traced back to losing Logan Couture. The forward has shown a knack for drawing penalties, as evidenced by the 34 he's drawn since the start of the 2012-13 season. That puts him at third on the Sharks in that span, behind only Tommy Wingels and Joe Pavelski. In the NHL, Couture is ranked 107th in the same time span — his penalty differential has him at 35th.
Still, when the Sharks have gotten a chance on the man-advantage they've looked competent. San Jose only got one shot on the power play against the Hurricanes (though truthfully they didn't seem to need the help) and while the Sharks didn't score, it wasn't for lack of trying.
Brent Burns lines up for a rocket of a shot from the point with bodies in front of the net. His shot goes off target, but this is a great look for the Sharks — and it comes after struggling to enter the zone previously. There's some debate about quantity vs. quality in terms of shot selection while on a power play, but this is a shot you'd like to see Burns take every time.
Joel Ward had an even better look here, as he snuck to the front of the net and snagged a great pass before shoveling it wide of the net. If he hits the net, he gets his hat trick earlier in this game.
Even when hitting the net, the Sharks haven't had much luck. They're shooting just 7.5 percent on the man-advantage, which is 26th in the league. Last season, San Jose shot a much healthier 12.5 percent — the worst team in the league in this category (Buffalo) shot 10 percent.
So let's hold off on firing
Jay Woodcroft (or whomever) just yet. The Sharks will go on a hot streak and we'll forget this whole thing ever happened.