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Sharks vs. Flames: Why this winning streak isn’t like the first

If the Sharks manage to douse the dwindling Flames tonight, they’ll have put together their second seven-game winning streak of the season. The first one, as you might recall, came in the team’s first seven games of the 2013 campaign as they stormed out of the gate to a 7-0-0 start before crashing back down to earth over the following month of hockey.

As we commented in the midst of that streak, there were reasons to be less than ecstatic about the Sharks’ performance. While they were blowing teams away on the scoreboard, they were also being propped up quite a bit by fantastic goaltending and a potent power play, often losing the possession battle at even-strength even before games got out of hand. The pucks predictably stopped going in at a ridiculous rate for San Jose and the team stopped winning a majority of their games. Should we expect something similar to happen in the near future or is the Sharks’ current streak less of a paper tiger than the one they compiled to begin the year? Here’s a comparison of the first six wins of San Jose’s season-opening streak and the six consecutive victories they’ve notched heading into tonight’s tilt with the Flames, all numbers 5-on-5:

Segment SF/60 SH% GF/60 SA/60 SV% GA/60 PDO FenClose% Chances For/60 Chances Against/60 Chance%
1-6 28.6 10.4% 2.98 29.1 0.960 1.15 1064 50.0% 13.5 14.0 49.2%
31-36 30.1 8.7% 2.64 26.8 0.944 1.51 1031 53.3% 12.1 9.1 57.1%

Where the Sharks were getting outshot by half a shot and outchanced by half a scoring chance per 60 minutes of even-strength hockey as well as controlling only half of the unblocked shot attempts in score-close situations during their initial run, they’re outshooting and outchancing teams by more than 3 shots and chances per 60 and putting up a 53.3% Fenwick Close so far during the current streak. The discrepancy in the overall percentage of scoring chances they’re earning is especially noteworthy. Like every team on a prolonged winning streak, the Sharks have certainly benefited from favorable bounces but not to nearly the same extent that they did during those first six games. Ditching Douglas Murray and Michal Handzus, converting Brent Burns to forward and further supplementing the team’s depth up front by shifting Joe Pavelski to third-line center appears to have legitimately improved the Sharks.

Calgary Flames


San Jose Sharks
13-18-4, 30 points
19-11-6, 44 points
14th in Western Conference 5th in Western Conference

7:30PM PST | HP Pavilion | San Jose, California
TV: CSNCA-HD | Radio: 98.5 KFOX,
Know Your Enemy: Flames Nation, Matchsticks & Gasoline

Projected Sharks Lineup

Martin HavlatJoe Thornton – Brent Burns
Patrick MarleauLogan CoutureTommy Wingels
T.J. Galiardi – Joe Pavelski – James Sheppard
Andrew DesjardinsScott GomezAdam Burish

Matt IrwinDan Boyle
Marc-Edouard VlasicJustin Braun
Brad Stuart – Matt Tennyson

Antti Niemi
Thomas Greiss

Projected Flames Lineup

Alex TanguayRoman HorakMike Cammalleri
Curtis GlencrossMatt StajanLee Stempniak
Roman CervenkaMikael BacklundJiri Hudler
Brian McGrattanSteve BeginTim Jackman

Chris ButlerDennis Wideman
T.J. Brodie – Cory Sarich
Brett CarsonAnton Babchuk

Miikka Kiprusoff
Joey MacDonald

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