With a shootout loss behind them, the Sharks prepare for their first of just two remaining four-game road trips as the 2016-17 season begins to wind down. The big, beautiful narrative of last season painted the Sharks as road warriors thanks to their franchise record 28 wins on the road while winning a mere 18 contests at SAP Center.
My how times have changed. The Sharks have already matched last season’s home win total with an 18-7-2 record just a few days into February and their 15-10-1 road mark is respectable but a far cry from what they accomplished last season. Allow me to help the mathematically challenged: San Jose needs to win 13 of its final 15 road games to match last season’s road record. Good luck!
I commented last year that none of this meant a whole lot of anything because the Sharks actually played quite a better at home than on the road based on their possession statistics. For those who ignored me at the time / weren’t here then let’s revisit and update those stats. Who’s with me? Don’t go away, there’s going to be more to this, I promise.
These fenwick stats, from corsica.hockey, are score and venue-adjusted.
Last Season: 54.45%
This Season: 52.97%
Last Season: 52.16%
This Season: 52.64%
Here’s my obligatory possession stats aren’t everything statement, but it’s interesting to note the Sharks haven’t played any different on the road this season, really. Luck matters in hockey! Who would have guessed? Now watch them go win their final five road games and set a new franchise record just for giggles. Speaking of, here’s a quick rundown of this road trip.
Sharks @ Sabres
Time: 4 p.m. PT
Previous Meeting: Buffalo 3, San Jose 1
Why you should watch: San Jose snapped the curse of Buffalo by winning at the First Niagara Centre in the Sharks’ last trip to upstate New York. Can the Sharks do it again? Please say yes.
Sharks @ Bruins
Time: 4 p.m. PT
Previous Meeting: Sharks 3, Bruins 2
Why you should watch: James Reimer was in net the last time the Sharks played the Bruins and it turned into a come from behind victory. San Jose won’t have the benefit of Optimus Reim between the pipes this time, but perhaps a thorough beatdown of the Bs can give Claude Julien his walking papers.
Sharks @ Flyers
Time: 10 a.m.
Previous Meeting: Sharks 2, Flyers 0
Why you should watch: Aaron Dell blanked Philadelphia in his last time out and while the Flyers haven’t continued their hot start to the season they’re still a playoff contender and one of the most fun teams in the NHL. At least, they are when they’re playing their fun, young players.
Sharks @ Devils
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Previous Meeting: Sharks 4, Devils 0
Why you should watch: Morning game? Check. Second half of a road back to back? Check. Playing the Devils? CHECK. I’ll be honest with you ... this might be a tough game to stomach from a watchability standpoint, but San Jose beat the pants off these guys in their last meeting and that’ll get me to watch. Also I have to watch.