The Sharks started off the season looking deadly, but have slowly fallen behind the pack. They weren’t horrible by any stretch of the imagination against the Canadiens, but their power play still failed to produce, and they have lacked consistent results from the goaltending as well, all the key things that factored into their early-season success.
The team needs to get back to the fundamentals, and it looks like when they start getting frustrated, they forget about that, and try to do everything on their own, creating a recipe for disaster.
The Winnipeg Jets have been rolling since a very slow start to the season. They hold a 4-2-1 record on the season and are riding a four-game winning streak heading into tonight. With the team’s offensive weapons, an improved defensive core and a goaltender who can be the best in the world when he is on his game, the Jets won’t let this rematch slip through their fingers.
Stopping Kyle Connor
Leading this Jets offense is forward Kyle Connor. The American winger has 13 points (6 goals, 7 assists) through seven games played, which is tied for second in the NHL. He is crafty with the puck and has an insane shot, but displays weakness when he’s away from the puck, something that can lead to him getting exposed easily.
The Sharks need to take advantage of that by covering up any slot-pass opportunities and using stick-checking to their advantage. They can’t afford to give him any open space, or he’ll make them pay.
Break the special teams' slump
The Sharks’ special teams need to be better if they want to win this game. The man-advantage has fallen off the map, yet to score through the last three games. It’s been a huge key to their success for players like Erik Karlsson and Kevin Labanc, and when the power play struggles, their production goes down with it.
The team needs to cycle the puck and really use their teammates to their advantage. Passing the puck around and making Connor Hellebuyck overcommit is the only way to get past him. It’s hard enough to do that without an extra skater, so the Sharks must take advantage where they can.
The Sharks need more from Nick Bonino
The Sharks were expecting a great two-way presence when they brought in Nick Bonino during free agency. But so far, he’s only held up one side of the bargain.
While he has been a great defensive piece for the team, he really hasn’t provided much of anything to the Sharks when it comes to offense. He has zero points through seven games played, despite playing an average of 17:28 minutes per game. At some point, the team is going to need some offense from his line, if they want any chance at success.