Martin Jones did his very best to win the over time period of Game 5 against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night all by himself. The Sharks were outshot 14-2, outchanced 11-2, and out-Corsi’d 27-7. Going back to the tying goal by Oscar Klefbom, Jones was the reason for the season for close to 40 minutes, while San Jose looked tired, slow, and desperate. Seriously, what is this madness:
In a postseason that’s had its fair share of goaltender storylines, Jones’ quality play has seemed to fade into the background. There has been a lot of praise directed at Jake Allen, Pekka Rinne, John Gibson, Henrik Lundqvist, and for good reason: all of them have been incredible. But Jones has allowed 9 goals on 148 shots through 319 minutes. Adds up to a .939 save percentage, compared to his regular season save percentage of .916. He’s fifth among goalies with more than one game played in save percentage, fourth in goals allowed, and sixth in goals against.
There was some chatter after Game 3 about him allowing too many five-hole goals, but I think that’s more likely to be a sample size issue than Jones suddenly forgetting how to butterfly, and last night’s performance seemed to bear that out for now. Further, compared to the first 82 games, Jones’ high danger save percentage has improved dramatically, from .819 in the regular season to .929 in the postseason. That is silly.
Unfortunately, the Sharks played an awful lot of prevent defense in Game 5, which, while allowing Jones to pad his stats with a pile of saves, some of which were very high danger as referenced above, didn’t do much as far as winning the hockey game. A long game like this one doesn’t help the older, more tired or injured Sharks at all, and Logan Couture and Joe Thornton (and who knows who else is dealing with various pains and maladies) visibly struggled into the third and into OT.
Unfortunately, while defense may win championships, offense still wins games. Martin Jones can stop 93.9 percent of shots every night, but when the Sharks sit back on leads like they seemed to last night, it’s only a matter of time. If Jones can even approximate that OT performance, and if the Sharks can continue to contain Hockey Jesus the way they have so far, this series could still go seven games, the way we all kind of feel it will whether we like it or not. Come on, admit it.
Maybe they just need more mohawks. That’s probably it.