Allowing six goals on 22 shots isn’t an effective way to win hockey games, as it turns out. The Sharks learned that the hard way Wednesday night in a 6-5 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers. San Jose hasn’t won in overtime since beating the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in overtime on Jan. 21.
That string of bad luck in the extra period includes last night’s loss, the it-was-4-1 loss to Buffalo and a Mike Smith-led defeat to Arizona. Go back one further than the win against Colorado and you’ll find the Sharks lost that game to the Los Angeles Kings, too.
There’s nothing special about losing in overtime; the Anaheim Ducks have been winning division titles by doing just that for years. Once you get to the “extra point” situation, your job is done and the fake hockey takes over. That’s why the boys in eggplant and orange have found themselves exposed when they need to play real hockey for the entirety of a contest.
The journey to get to overtime? That’s a different story. Argue about the individual goals if you want, but Martin Jones played terribly last night. Allowing six goals on 22 shots makes it difficult to find fans to cape for you, particularly when the Panthers only accumulated 11 High Danger Chances according to Natural Stat Trick, eight of which came at even strength.
To offer some context, the Sharks allow 8.54 per game at even strength according to the same fine web page. Sure, the defense didn’t look good on those goals, but the numbers don’t back up the notion the defense is in some a slump. Jones is in a slump and Jones didn’t look good on the majority of those goals. In his past 25 games his even-strength save percentage is .9081. That is a slump.
Jones has played in 49 games this season and played in 65 last year. The Sharks have 24 more games to play and it seems unlikely head coach Pete DeBoer will dive into a 2-for-1 split between Jones and backup Aaron Dell the rest of the way. If Jones starts at the same clip (0.84.5 percent) he’ll play in 69 games this year. That’s nice, but Jones will also die of fatigue in the playoffs.
Maybe it’s time to give the guy a rest and let Aaron Dell get some reps. What do you say, Pete?