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Six Storylines: Sharks aren’t out of the woods yet

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San Jose can see what it needs to do to win, but there are holes in its armor.

San Jose Sharks v Edmonton Oilers - Game One Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

The Sharks are likely still basking in the glow of their comeback victory in Game One against the Oilers. Or, their fans are anyway. Who can blame us for a little good natured basking? Given the way the game started, and the way it finished, a morning of honeymoon glow is to be expected.

So don’t take this to be a bubble-bursting, alarm-clock rattling type post. Instead, here’s a brief summary of what I learned, or had confirmed, from Game One against the Oilers.

Tomas Hertl has arrived, baby

I wrote about this for the Daily Chum, but holy crap what a game by Tomas Hertl last night. Not only did he get bumped up to be the No. 2 center, but he was routinely tasked with neutralizing Connor McDavid. He handled both tasks extremely well. If the Sharks win this series, we’ll have Hertl to thank.

Martin Jones remains a concern

He quieted down, mainly as a result of seeing fewer shots, but woof that first goal allowed was deflating. I have a hard time faulting a netminder on any power-play goal, so I won’t, but keep an eye on the San Jose goalie. They need him to be very good in this series and he wasn’t last night.

Joonas Donskoi was everywhere

How about the kid from Finland? He made some real nifty passes last night and picked up an assist on Joel Ward’s power-play tally. He ended up as a +6 in possession and really stepped up for the Sharks last night. They’re going to need him to keep doing that. If San Jose can get the changes they want, I expect a big series from him.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun can’t shut down McDavid

You knew this was coming, Pete. Only three players ended up with negative corsi differentials last night: Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Justin Braun and Melker Karlsson. Possession isn’t everything, eh? Vlasic had two points and Karlsson had the game-winning goal.

I’m not saying San Jose should send the dudes to the AHL, but this is a cause for concern. McDavid split Braun and Vlasic for a chance on Jones and the Sharks are lucky it didn’t result in a goal.

Kills Galore

The most minor penalties in a game between the Sharks and Oilers this season was eight. There were 11 last night and seven went against the Oilers. I think the message from both coaches will be to clean things up for Game Two. I know things worked out for the Sharks on Wednesday, but playing things at 5v5 is going to be to their advantage in the long run.

A heavy game favors San Jose

But not for the reason you think. San Jose is a “fast” team; just not as fast as a really fast team. Does that make sense? My point is that if Edmonton wants to chase hits... San Jose should let ‘em. That will lead to frustration and the Sharks can take advantage of it.


San Jose has a long way to go in this series, but getting a win out of the way feels pretty darn good. Now the focus turns on to Game Two. Let’s see what kind of adjustments Todd McLellan has up his sleeves.