A lot of things can be said about the Sharks’ loss to the Wild on Saturday evening and how it pertains to Team Teal’s contest against the Jets tonight. San Jose played without David Schlemko, Joonas Donskoi and Jannik Hansen. Marcus Sorensen played only eight minutes. Micheal Haley made the best offensive play of the night.
Some games call for nuance and others call for simplicity: For the Sharks to beat the Jets in tonight’s contest, with puck drop set for 5 p.m. PT, they need to show up. Minnesota is a good team, but San Jose played like a bag of garbage for the vast majority of Sunday’s contest and I’m not comfortable blaming it on the start time or a suboptimal lineup.
I won’t feel good doing it if they put forth a similar effort against the Jets, either; you know, since Winnipeg is not a very good team. The Jets enter the contest only three points out of a wild card spot because it seems nobody actually wants to make the playoffs. Don’t let that fool you: the Sharks should beat these guys!
The good news is, San Jose has a bit of history doing just that. The Sharks are 2-0 against the Jets this season, outscoring the ex-Thrashers 9-5 in two contests (with a shorthanded goal in each game!) so I like their chances of getting shut out tomorrow.
Martin Jones played very well against the Wild, one of the only Sharks to have a great game, and as a reward he’ll get to put on a baseball cap and take the night off against the Jets. That’s me putting on the ole speculation cap, FYI. With that in mind, Aaron Dell leads the league in even-strength save percentage amongst goalies with at least 500 minutes played. So that’s cool.
This is the Sharks’ second, and likely final chance of the year, to get a look at rookie sensation Patrik Laine. He had an assist and three shots on goal in his only other appearance against San Jose and will be a handful against the Sharks’ top line. Laine is at 58 points in 58 games and it’s frankly incredible that the rookie class is so good that he’s not a shoo-in for the Calder.
If San Jose gets some reinforcements, tonight’s game promises to be quite a bit more enjoyable than Sunday’s. Hell, even if the Sharks don’t ... it probably won’t be any worse, right?