clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Daily Chum: A tale of two games

New, comments

San Jose has been at their best and their worst through two games this series.

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

Through two games in the first round, the Sharks have experienced the best of times and the worst of times.

Very few things went well for the San Jose Sharks in a 2-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers last night. The Sharks failed to generate any pressure at even strength, could not capitalize on a multitude of power plays, allowed two shorthanded goals, and wasted a 34-save performance from Martin Jones for good measure.

It was a far cry from Game 1, and reminiscent of what we had seen from the Sharks in the last two-and-a-half weeks of the season or so. It’s been a Jekkyl and Hyde performance, perhaps best exemplified by the following two graphs from hockeystats.ca illustrating 5v5 shot attempts in each game.

The swing between Games 1 and 2 have led to an even amount of even strength puck possession. Through two games, the Oilers and Sharks have attempted the same amount of unblocked shot attempts at even strength and scored the same amount of even strength goals, while the Oilers hold a slight edge in overall shot attempts (50.98%), scoring chances (50.68%), and high danger chances (51.72%), according to Natural Stat Trick.

If Game 1 was a best-case scenario and Game 2 was a worst-case scenario, where does that leave the Sharks going forward? The answer is as murky as the scoreline in this series.

In score close situations at even strength, the Sharks have accounted for 55.8% of the shot attempts (48-38), according to Natural Stat Trick. Score close situations can be very predictive of a team’s true ability, but those numbers are a likely product of score effects, as the Sharks trailed 2-0 entering the second period of Game 1 before halving the Oilers with a power play goal.

The concern for San Jose, as well as Edmonton, is that the even nature of this series is not a product of both games being close, but from both clubs putting forth inconsistent efforts. The Sharks outplayed the Oilers in Game 1, while the Oilers outplayed the Sharks in Game 2.

Both blueprints to victory are now firmly on the table. If the Sharks are to win this series, they’ll need their depth players to outplay the Oilers’, limit Connor McDavid and Edmonton’s transition opportunities, as they did in Game 1. If the Oilers are to win, they’ll do so by utilizing their team speed to make the Sharks chase the game, as San Jose did in Game 2 and throughout last year’s Stanley Cup Final against Pittsburgh.

It will be interesting to see how Peter DeBoer utilizes last change tomorrow night on home ice, and how effectively the Sharks can exploit matchups that worked for so well in Game 1, which the Sharks appeared to get away from in Game 2.

If they can, the Sharks could very well find themselves in the driver’s seat as this series shifts back to Edmonton. If they can’t, the Sharks’ pursuit of a second straight Stanley Cup Final appearance will end before it could really begin.