The Morning After: A tale of two special teams
San Jose's power play got going on Tuesday. Let's not talk about the penalty kill.
It turns out Boston's power play is as good as its percenage indicated heading into Tuesday's game. The Bruins entered Tuesday's contest scoring on 33 percent of their power play opportunities. There's more to a power play's quality than its success rate (especially early in the season) but Boston made good on it, scoring twice on the man-advantage against the Sharks.
After scoring twice on the power play last night, the Bruins percentage rose to 35.2 percent. Meanwhile, the Sharks success on the man advantage (boy does it feel good to type that) has them up to a less-terrible 15.1 percent. Boston sits at No. 1 in the league (obviously) while the Sharks climbed up to 24th. San Jose's penalty kill took a hit, though, dropping down to 23rd. Funnily enough (or whatever) Boston has the lowest percentage at 70.8. So I guess these things even out sometimes.
I know I've written a few times that I'm not all that concerned with the Sharks power play because of their scoring chance numbers. I don't see much reason to change that line of thinking as the Sharks continue to be dangerous while up a man. For me, the Sharks biggest special teams concern comes on the penalty kill.
San Jose ranks 22nd in the league in scoring chances against per 60 minutes, which suggests their poor penalty kill percentage is well deserved. On top of that, the Sharks haven't exactly received terrific goaltending while down a man (not that anyone does, really). While Martin Jones has been great for the Sharks this season, he has been less spectacular when San Jose has to kill a penalty. The Sharks .838 save percentage on the penalty kill is 25th in the league (Anaheim's .921 is the best, in case you were wondering).
It doesn't help that the Sharks penalty differential isn't quite what it used to be. I know I've touched on this before, but the Sharks are now a -2 in penalty differential. Last season the Sharks drew 37 more penalties than they took and in the 2013-14 season San Jose drew 77 more penalties than they took. So things aren't exactly trending in the right direction. The main culprits for this penalty downturn aren't particularly surprising.
Brent Burns has taken six, Brenden Dillon four and Justin Braun three. None of the trio have drawn a penalty this year. So, that's not great. While there are certainly things the Sharks can clean up on the penalty kill, like not running around like there's no system in place, but the problems start with heading to the box too often. So...take fewer penalties, please. I'm begging you. Also, let's bring that Logan Couture guy back. He's pretty good at drawing penalties and he's damn good on the ice when the Sharks have an extra man.
Did I mention the Sharks have a three-game win streak?
The Sharks have a three-game win streak. Hard to be upset about that.