Sharks vs. Predators Game 5 Preview: Protecting Home Ice
A best-of-seven is now a best-of-three as the Sharks look to get one step closer to the conference final.
There's an old sports cliche that says something along the lines of "it's not a series until the home team loses a game." Four games in to the second round matchup between the Sharks and Predators, the road team has yet to win a game. Yet with the series knotted up at two games apiece, it'd be foolish to say the series has not started.
But with the series all squared away, it is no longer a best-of-seven, but a best-of-three, beginning with tonight's pivotal Game 5. While the Sharks may have had the fifth-worst home record, playing at home in Game 5 is the position you want to be in. Historically, home teams who hosted the first two games, Game 5, and dropped a 2-0 lead have won the series nearly 65% of the time, according to WhoWins.
History may be on the Sharks' side, but ultimately, it's up to them to make their own.
Tale Of The Tape
|41-27-14||Regular Season Record||46-30-6|
|4th in Central||Regular Season Finish||3rd in Pacific |
|53.7% ||Regular Season Even Strength, Score-Adj. Fenwick||53.3% |
|99.4 ||Regular Season PDO||100.4|
|19.7 ||Regular Season PP%||22.5|
|81.2 ||Regular Season PK%||80.5|
7 PM PDT | SAP Center | San Jose
TV: NBCSN | Radio: SJSharks.com, 98.5 KFOX
Know Your Enemy: On the Forecheck
In the second-longest playoff game in franchise history, the Sharks dropped Game 4 in Nashville thanks to Mike Fisher's triple OT winner.
- Pete DeBoer is yet to make any lineup changes this postseason. Might we see Dainius Zubrus and Dylan DeMelo draw into tonight's game? Nick Spalling and Roman Polak were both out-possessed at even strength in Game 4.
- The Sharks need to find a way to stop Colin Wilson, Mike Fisher, and James Neal. One of the three have either scored or assisted ten of Nashville's 12 goals in the series. DeBoer needs to utilize home ice tonight to get Burns and Martin away from the trio and utilize Vlasic and Braun against the two as much as possible. Vlasic and Braun have posted a score-adjusted Corsi of at least 50% against the trio, while Burns and Martin have been out-possessed by all three players, according to War on Ice.
- Martin Jones needs to return to his form from the first two games of the series. Jones' 0.886 SV% over the last two games is not good enough if the Sharks hope to advance. The Sharks have been let down by goaltending in just about every postseason appearance in the Thornton era. They can't afford to have that be the case again.