San Jose has received an infusion of energy from an unlikely source during the team’s last two games — a two-game win streak. A maligned Jannik Hansen drew into the lineup in place of an injured Joel Ward and promptly notched an assist during the Sharks’ wild 6-4 victory over Edmonton.
Against Anaheim, the coaching staff moved Hansen up to the first line where he helped Joe Pavelski and Timo Meier skate to a 70 percent 5v5 shot differential.
Hansen continued his strong run of play against the tired Coyotes tonight. Hansen was promoted to the team’s third line ahead of the game and was part of the game’s best scoring chance partway through the first period.
Though Arizona scored first off a deflection and bizarre scramble in front of the net, Jannik Hansen would not allow the dogged visitors end his streak of good play. Though Hansen did not receive a point on the play, he was instrumental in setting up the play that allowed Mikkel Boedker to score San Jose’s first goal of the evening.
Hansen’s helpful first period and a generally solid performance in the 5v5 shot differential department was marred by a Tomas Hertl injury. The Sharks’ forward slipped and slid hard into the boards during the late-period penalty kill. He arose gingerly, favoring his shoulder before skating off the ice without picking up his stick.
Hertl’s injury made way for Danny O’Regan’s debut as a winger. The 24-year-old semi-prospect has struggled this season in a fourth-line center role, and his speed and shiftiness seem well suited for a more complementary role on a forward line.
As San Jose recoiled from the latest injury to an important player, Arizona went back to work. The visitors drew a penalty during a near-breakaway then capitalized on their extra-man opportunity. A giant Alex Goligoski slapper from the right point beat everyone and seemed to want only to wrench free of the twine along the back of the San Jose net.
Though the Coyotes emerged from the second frame with a goal lead, San Jose outshot its opponent. Once again, San Jose traded scoring chances despite their shot advantage. And really, Arizona’s Scott Wedgewood, struggling on the season, was the talk of the game at that point.
According to Corsica.hockey, Wedgewood had prevented two entire goals more than what an average goalie would have facing the same quality and quantity of shots he had. His save percentage? A mere eight percent higher than one would have expected an average goalie to post in his position.
Unfortunately for Wedgewood, the team’s concussion spotters pulled him from the game after a collision with Timo Meier saw the goaltender’s head knock against the post. This incident followed a number of plays during which a Shark shot hit him in the facemask.
Hansen — who else — would later get a dazzling opportunity to test the fresh-off-the-bench Antti Raanta after a Chris Tierney saucer pass found the Danish winger wide open at the goalie’s doorstep. Unfortunately, the bouncing pass was difficult to propel toward the goal with any power.
It was the only excitement until halfway through the third period when Peter DeBoer released the kraken and sent Burns out onto the ice as a forward, shifting with Pavelski and Meier. The three generated a near-miss among a few other chances, a bellows adding oxygen to the rapidly heating forge of a game.
Missed calls to Arizona as Jordan Martinook sent Logan Couture flying into his own net threatened to reduce the game to a smoldering mass of fiberglass and shoulder pads. Offsetting minors seemed to signal the referees were indeed awake, but the 4v4 ice time yielded little.
In the end, despite blanking Arizona in the shot column and going on a terrifying run of expected goals and shots, San Jose was not able to solve the Coyotes’ goaltending duo.
- San Jose had an impressive game. This was seemingly the first game in recent memory where they won the shot-differential contest for more than a single period. These heatmaps represent 61 percent of all shots and 60 percent of expected goals during the game at 5v5.
- Brent Burns at forward was fun for a while, but it’s not likely to last. Tonight’s display of the San Jose Sharks circa 2013 was probably due more to the coaching staff being desperate for a goal than any long-term plan.
- In a game where every other Shark was at or over 50 percent in the shot differential department, Danny O’Regan clocked in at 25 percent. He continues to struggle in the NHL.