The Kings Would Be A Murderous Draw In The First Round
Seriously, we can't seem to buy a win against these guys. I want no part of that come April because all four tilts against Los Angeles this season have reminded me of the Ducks playoff series last season. The bounces will never go our way, Quick will make a ton of saves, Doughty will probably score fifteen goals, and their defense does a good job of limiting chances in tight.
Los Angeles has amassed just too much hockey karma for all of the beatings they've taken over the last few years. I hope they shoot the lights out in the last half of the season and fall short of the division title by one point.
There was a small discussion on the lack of power play production lately (which, admittedly, gets glanced over when you're riding an eight game winning streak), and I think bringing Jason Demers back to the squad would help get the wheels-a-turning. Here's the current production of the blueliners that have had more than a minute per game played with the 5v4 advantage.
5v4 Power Play
|PLAYER ||GP ||TOI ||Goals/60 ||Assists/60 ||PTS/60 ||GFON/60 ||GAON/60 ||DIF/60 |
|Jason Demers ||18||2:26||0.73||2.94||3.67||8.81||0.73||8.08 |
| Dan Boyle ||18||4:38||0.98||3.28||4.27||8.20||0.98||7.22 |
| Rob Blake ||16||2:29||0.81||1.62||2.44||7.31||0.81||6.50 |
| M-E Vlasic ||18||1:49||0.00||0.80||0.80||8.00||1.60||6.40 |
| Kent Huskins ||23||1:05||0.00||2.56||2.56||3.83||3.83||0 |
Just a note-- I don't really pay all too much attention to GAON/60 when it comes to the powerplay, as shorthanded goals are really a product of some skill, a lot of luck, and the entire unit at large since San Jose's forwards have a good amount of responsibility in this area considering the system promotes defensemen making hockey plays at the circles or below. It's not a bad thing to consider of course, but just something that I don't think should be a defining factor. PTS/60 and GFON/60 are much more worthwhile statistics, and that's what I've put in bold.
For all the times I've cited Demers' egregious turnovers in the defensive zone* during the course of a game, it's plain to see that the power play runs smoothly when he's out on the ice. I'm not against Joe Pavelski playing on the backend in theory, but Demers' lateral movement is much superior to Pavelski's which opens up shooting lanes as well as makes teams think twice about aggressively pressuring the defensive puck carrier all the way up to the edges of the blueline. With the amount of firepower San Jose has down low it's a deadly combination.
The defense hasn't been nearly as good this season at generating offense (something I'll be looking at in the near future), and at this point I think there's no need to pull any punches when it comes to getting the man advantage back on track.
*Speaking of turnovers-- Rob Blake's to start the third, a mere thirteen seconds after Thomas Greiss entered the game, was hilarious. It sealed the Sharks fate, came against his former team, and was so outrageously asinine I couldn't help but laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh and... well, you get the idea. I think I might be losing it.
Congrats to Jumbo Joe on his 900th NHL point tonight.