While I watched the Calgary Flames paste the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night, the San Jose Sharks hung around long enough to beat the Anaheim Ducks in overtime. I wasn’t looking forward to watching this replay, but did my due diligence and saw a game that matched the reactions I saw on Twitter during the event.
San Jose got its butt kicked by Anaheim on Tuesday by one of its SoCal rivals and at the top of the charts include the Sharks’ bottom pairing: Brenden Dillon and Dylan DeMelo. At even strength, the two each ended up with a corsi differential of -11. If you’re into a visualization, check this out from hockeyviz.com:
They weren’t alone. Micheal Haley and Melker Karlsson also struggled, as did the rest of the Sharks, as Anaheim pasted San Jose in possession. Yes, the Sharks won the game but they did so while getting outgained by a team with terrible possession numbers this season. It’s not a reason for immediate concern, but it wasn’t exactly a dominant win.
So say a thank you prayer to Martin Jones, who made 34 saves against the Ducks to continue his strong run of form. After a rocky start to the season (which I’m pretty sure I can stop saying now) he has excelled and is right back to the level we became accustomed to a season ago.
That leaves the Sharks three points clear of the Edmonton Oilers, who were inactive on Tuesday, and four of the Ducks. Anaheim clinched at least 50 percent of the points in the season series with San Jose by taking the loser point on Tuesday. The two teams play just once more and even if the Sharks win the game in regulation both teams will get six points.
Pete DeBoer, who gets into the habit of “not fixing what isn’t broken,” by which I mean “not changing a winning team,” may want to go back under the hood after this one. Scratching David Schlemko for Dylan DeMelo for three games in a row isn’t defensible by any definition, but after his terrible performance on Tuesday, it’s time for a change.
The result matters, of course, but 18 skaters dress for any given hockey game. A win or a loss doesn’t hang on any one of them. The individual’s performance matters and it’s about time that DeBoer makes his lineups accordingly. I’ve lost hope that he’ll do it when it comes to Haley; but perhaps he’ll come to his senses when Schlemko his involved.