The San Jose Sharks have been fun to watch lately, haven’t they? The Sharks are currently 5-1-0 in their last six games and have scored 24 goals within that time. The last time the Sharks took on the Winnipeg Jets was only two weeks ago in a crucial 4-1 loss where opposing goaltender Connor Hellebuyck stole the show, stopping 31 of 32 shots.
The Sharks enter tonight sitting second place in the Pacific Division with a record of 26-14-6, whereas the Jets are currently first in the Central Division with a record of 28-13-7.
San Jose is coming off a huge 6-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night thanks to the likes of a three-point game from Mikkel Boedker and a stellar performance from backup goaltender, Aaron Dell. Some unfamiliar names are making their way back onto the score sheet, as Chris Tierney has registered four points in his last five games and Boedker has recorded five points in his last five games.
Winnipeg is also coming off a Sunday night victory, but a very different win in the form of a tight 1-0 win against the Vancouver Canucks. Patrik Laine scored the game’s only goal and Connor Hellebuyck made 29 saves for the shutout. The Jets are currently on a 5-2-0 run and have scored 20 goals within the last seven games.
The good news is that the Sharks are heading back to the SAP Center and hold one of the top home records in the league, going 14-6-2 through the first 22 games. The Jets on the other hand have struggled on the road this year and currently hold a 11-10-6 away record, which may turn out in the Sharks’ favor. Here are some things to look for in tonight’s contest:
Can they maintain this winning pace?
Like I mentioned before, the Sharks are currently playing their best hockey of the year and have a much improved 7-3-0 record in their last 10 games. Big names, such as Joe Thornton (who has five points in his last five games) and Brent Burns (who also has five points in his last five games), have been one of the reason’s for the Sharks’ recent success. San Jose will look to make it six wins in their last seven games tonight, but it will not come easy against this dominant Jets team.
Can the Sharks control the power house Jets team?
The Winnipeg Jets are currently the top team in the Central Division and sit second in the whole Western Conference. Winnipeg is having a break out year, with Blake Wheeler and Mathieu Perrault leading the charge, both recording four points in their last five games. The Sharks will look to outmatch the explosive offense this Jets team carries and goaltending will be a crucial part of the game.
Will the Sharks’ power-play please stay hot?
San Jose currently holds the fifth best power-play in the league and have gone 3-for-6 in the last two games. Joe Thornton (7), Tomas Hertl (6), and Logan Couture (5) lead the way in man advantage goals for the team whereas Burns (18), Thornton (17), and Pavelski (15) lead the team in power-play points. Getting a man advantage and capitalizing on it will make-or-break a game this evenly matched.
Bold Prediction: This will be a game all forwards and fans dream off and all coaches and goalies have nightmares of. The Sharks will take the game 5-4 and Logan Couture will record his second hat trick of the year in the win.
Check back later for lines and an open game discussion thread!