When teams face off in the National Hockey League, people want to tell you that certain players and certain things are bound to happen due to statistical analysis but on any given night anything can happen. The Avalanche have made a season out of it before and came into the game last night on a bit of a hot streak. In a bit of serendipity, the Sharks ran into a perfect storm that allowed them to blow out their opponents. Just how exactly did they do it?
1. Run into a bad goalie
I won't disparage Calvin Pickard too badly in this space but Pickard probably shouldn't be in the NHL backing up Semyon Varlamov (sorry I did it anyway). Pickard has an even strength save percentage hovering around .914 and that is just not going to cut it in today's NHL.
We all have come to expect the random backup coming in and stealing a game. It didn't look like that would be the case early on in the day when reports from morning skate said that Pickard was dealing with possible flu like symptoms. The Sharks knew they could get to him early and often since he had been feeling under the weather. We really shouldn't have been surprised with the result of the game when weighing these factors, eh?
2. Just be better
Whether it be a puppy sign or a milestone, people love pointing out a narrative and attaching it to a teams play. Some people may tell you that the reason the Sharks beat the Avalanche so badly was because they just wanted it more than them. Imagine that being the basis of a coaches conversation every single night. The conversation would go over like a lead balloon, these guys try hard night in and night out and if they don't they don't stay in the league for very long. Skill will trump effort nine times out of ten, so unfortunately for Nick Holden he can try his best but he just won't be able to keep up with Joe Thornton when he is at the top of his game. The Sharks are just plain better than the Avalanche in any measurable metric. Case closed.
3. Get a little lucky
The Sharks didn't finish their night on the positive side of the possession pendulum, which may normally be reason for pause but they had something better, dumb luck.
The Sharks had a lot of bounces go their way last night and on some nights that does happen but to rely on them is just a sign of stupidity. The Sharks were able to put the peddle to the metal but were doing so at an extremely efficient rate, it isn't going to last but for one night and one night only it can be enjoyed upon and basked in.
It is the All Star break after all, we don't have to think too much about it do we?