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Quick Bites: Sharks park the bus, still beat LA

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Say hello to the Cardiac Sharks.

Timo Meier #28 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates his goal with teammates during the second period against the Los Angeles Kings at STAPLES Center on November 25, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NHLI via Getty Images

I’m almost certain most of us are thinking the same thing right now: “There is no way in hell the San Jose Sharks should have won that game,” and you can’t really be blamed for thinking that after the Sharks squandered a 3-0 lead in the third period, granting the Los Angeles Kings an extra point in the standings. But somehow, they pulled out the victory, and the Sharks now find themselves one point out from a playoff spot (yes, I am well aware it’s only November, but they’ve yet to be in a playoff spot all season).

MoneyPuck recently introduced a feature called the “Deserve To Win O’ Meter.” You can read more about it here. There were a thousand simulations of this game, and only 15.1 percent of the time did it have the Sharks pulling out a positive result like they did on Monday night.

MoneyPuck.com

So what exactly happened last night? Let’s break it down.

It’s Timo Time somewhere

Timo Meier certainly had a memorable game against the Kings, tallying two back-to-back goals to extend the Sharks’ lead to three goals. The two goals were good for his seventh and eighth goals of the year, but even off of the official scoresheet, it was clear that he once again had a very prolific offensive game.

Meier tied with his linemate, Kevin Labanc, for most shot attempts at 5-on-5 action with 23 shots, 14 of which were on target, and was second on the team in expected goals for with 0.82, only trailing Labanc, who had .93 xGF.

The Two Martin Jones-es

Martin Jones’ last start, which was Saturday night against the New York Islanders, was almost certainly the best start of his season, finishing the 2-1 overtime win with a .964 save percentage. His attempt to follow that up against the Kings didn’t exactly go as planned.

In all situations, his final save percentage was .917 percent, which isn’t terrible, but his underlying numbers were a little worse. At 5-on-5 play, his save percentage regressed to .864, and struggled to stop high-danger chances in 5-on-5 situations, finishing with a high-danger save percentage of .778. Interestingly, however, he was once again perfect on the penalty kill, stopping all 13 shots he faced at 4-on-5. If you’re as interested as I am why Jones looks so good on the penalty kill but worse at 5-on-5, our own Sheng Peng takes a deeper dive into this phenomena here.

Jones has shown signs of reverting to his better days this season, but games such as these don’t exactly help his case as to why Sharks fans should trust him again.

The Turning Point

After Timo Meier’s second goal of the game to make the score 3-0 midway through the second period, the Sharks got comfortable with their lead.

Perhaps a little too comfortable.

The Kings started firing on all offensive cylinders after that third goal, and a decent Martin Jones start to that point was spoiled by an Adrian Kempe goal late in the second period ... and then things went off the rails.

If your name isn’t Jose Mourinho, please don’t park the bus.
Natural Stat Trick

The Kings pulled away from the Sharks in the third period, putting up 26 shot attempts at 5-on-5, with 11 of those shots being on goal. You could see the iceberg approaching when Dustin Brown scored (because of course he did) to make it a 3-2 game, and then total disaster seemed imminent when Anze Kopitar scored to tie the game. However, Jonathan Quick decided to bail the Sharks out by doing whatever this was, letting Patrick Marleau score the game-winning goal to give the Sharks three straight overtime wins.

(Insert Kings “To clarify, that’s 10 years after next year” tweet here).