Sharks offensive results continue to stagnate as they look to break out against the Flames



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The Sharks scoring woes continued last night in their 2-1 shootout loss against the Edmonton Oilers. It's been a rough stretch for the Sharks as of late, with numerous factors playing a role in the team's recent lack of production up and down the lineup. Injuries to Martin Havlat and Ryane Clowe have decimated the team's top six, what looked like an unsustainable 5v5 PDO has begun to regress, and the power play has continued to inconceivably struggle despite the talent that hits the ice every night.

To illustrate their recent woes here's a slightly more in-depth look at their play over the last seven games:

San Jose Sharks Offense (Last 7 Games)

Opponent GP
Shots PP
37 0-2 W 2-0
2 33 1-5 W 2-1
24 0-3 L 4-3.
31 0-2 W, 2-1 (SO)
37 0-3 L 4-1
26 1-1 L, 4-3
45 1-2 92.2
33.3 3-18 3-3-1

What's good to see is that the shot totals haven't taken too much of a hit-- as The Neutral mentioned last night, the Sharks outchanced the Oilers 22-8 overall which is about as good of a game you can ask from a team in a losing affair. Getting one point in a game against Edmonton isn't exactly anything to fawn over of course, but credit should rightly go to Devyn Dubnyk for his performance throughout the tilt.

Dubnyk has always reminded me of an embittered Russian novelist who pours himself a stiff drink of vodka every loneseom night in an attempt to dull the bitter harsh winds of a cold Edmonton winter. The imagery kind of unfolds once you realize he's a young Canadian hockey player, but the "goaltender as a lone wolf" stereotype, Dubnyk's Ukrainian heritage, and his certainly fitting full name all contribute to the cause.

I'm probably projecting memories of the Ilya Bryzgalov Knob Hockey video in there as well for whatever reason, but what are you going to do.

At any rate, the Sharks are certainly struggling right now and there's even greater cause for concern with Brent Burns taking a nasty knee on knee hit last night from Oilers winger Ales Hemsky in an innocuous collision along the boards that turned ugly as soon as it occurred. Burns, who limped off the ice and had to be helped to the dressing room with assistance from Colin White and the training staff, felt better following the game but still has managed to give Todd McLellan pause as to his status going forward.

There's no real telling with these types of injuries-- I remember Dan Boyle's fall last season along the boards looked like it could have ended his season but he didn't end up missing a game, and then Martin Havlat goes and gets himself injured for 6-8 weeks after coming off the bench for a line change. Whatever happens with Burns over the course of the next 48 hours will likely determine the Sharks game plan and outlook going forward; while reports that he left the arena without crutches are definitely positive, you're going to have to wait until more information comes out before exhaling that breathe you're currently holding snug in your lungs.

Whatever happens however, it's unlikely he suits up tonight against the Flames.

With the Sharks trying to get scoring from anyone outside of the magnificent Logan Couture right now, San Jose's upcoming tilt against Calgary presents a good opportunity for the team to give themselves a little push heading into the All-Star Break. We said coming into this Alberta swing that we'd be content with 3 points on the roadie, so locking down a win tonight keeps them on pace with our expectations. Games against the Flames are like eating dry turkey on rye for lunch on a Wednesday afternoon-- enough sustenance to get you through the day, but not enough to get you excited about life in general.

Expect another grinder tonight topped off with a religious conviction to chip the puck in, manage shifts, and win battles along the boards. With the Sharks banged up and likely without the deft puck moving abilities of Burns on the backend that type of matchup is about as good as one they could ask for-- a slow and methodical game that relies on Niemi to do what he has done for the majority of this season is the best opportunity for them to lick their wounds and come up with two points before the break. Calgary's relatively porous ability to keep shots away from Kiprusoff (18th in the League, 30.4 SA/G) and their equally lacking goal scoring ability (25th in the League, 2.41 G/GP) are all indicators that San Jose can still hang in this one even if the goal scoring dries up before our eyes.

They can feel free to cash in at some point of course.

Prediction: Sharks win 2-0. Goals by Couture and McGinn.