So the Sharks enter Christmas break with a 4-9 record at SAP Center. That’s not very good, particularly when considering San Jose has posted a 13-6-2 mark on the road. But while the record may be concerning, the play that led to that record isn’t quite as bad as you might think.
Let’s get this out of the way, first: The Sharks are not playing poorly at home because of a lack of fan support. They’re professional athletes that could get going in an empty building, let alone in front of lackluster home support. Beyond that, how do you think they’re playing so well on the road? Feeding off of the noise of fans cheering against them? Let’s not go down this rabbit hole and instead assume that while it’s fun to believe being loud at a hockey game makes your team better it’s really not fun to blame fellow fans for why a team isn’t playing well.
In the Sharks 13 home games they’ve put up a positive score-adjusted fenwick-for percentage in six of them — you’d certainly like to see that number higher at home, but it’s not exactly catastrophic. Over the course of the 13 games they’ve established a 50.8 percentage. That’s not setting the world on fire, but over a small sample size it could just be statistical noise.
The real problem over the Sharks 13 home games has been goaltending. San Jose is boasting a putrid .909 even strength save percentage while at home — the only teams worse than that? Columbus, Calgary, Colorado and Carolina. I guess playing in a city that starts with a C has been a bad omen for goaltending this year. The Sharks even strength PDO is the second lowest in the league while at home, meaning they’re not having much luck shooting the puck, either.
It should also be noted that all seven of the Sharks’ poor fenwick performances have come against teams with positive fenwick-for percentages. Those teams (Chicago, Tampa Bay, Nashville, Minnesota, Los Angeles, Anaheim and Carolina) aren’t the worst teams in the world to have bad possession games against. Now if you let the Ducks score on you, I suppose there’s some legitimate beef, but they’re a damn fine puck possession team.
The Sharks currently live in bad-PDO-ville, but after just 13 games there’s still plenty of time for those numbers to start swinging back in San Jose’s favor. Things haven’t been great at home, but there’s not much reason to panic, either. The Sharks are a pretty good (not great) hockey team and that will (probably) translate to their play on home ice. Eventually. I hope.