The San Jose Sharks get set to take on the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals today at 4:30pm! Please note all games will be carried LIVE locally on CSNCA-HD / 98.5-102.1 FM KFOX and the Sharks Radio Network
Each game day, SJSHARKS.COM will take a look at the “Game inside the Game” as the Sharks continue their quest toward the Stanley Cup! Line matchups, player vs. player battles, head-to-head stats, and key figures highlighted each game day!
Before Game 1, let’s take a closer look at the special teams for the Sharks and the Blues!
We hear it all the time….Special teams can make or break a team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs! Let’s take a closer look at the Sharks/Blues power play and penalty kill heading into Game 1 in St. Louis!
- PP this season: 21.1% - 2nd in NHL (1-for-15 vs. the Blues this season)
- PK this season: 76.9% - 29th in AHL
- The Sharks scored the 2nd most goals on the power play in the NHL this season (57).
- Despite ranking 29th on the penalty kill, the Sharks allowed six less power play goals (52) than the 17th ranked Philadelphia Flyers (58).
- The Sharks were shorthanded just 225 times this season, the least in the NHL (just 2.74 power plays against per game). – that’s a GOOD thing!
- PP this season: 16.7 – 20th in NHL (5-for-19 vs. the Sharks this season)
- PK this season: 85.8% - 7th in NHL
- The Blues have allowed only three shorthanded goals this season, the third fewest in the NHL.
- St. Louis has a much better PP at home at 18.9% compared to 13.9% on the road this season.
- The Blues have scored the 3rd most shorthanded goals this season at home (5).
Top 5 Sharks on the PP this season:
Couture – 11 power play goals
Marleau – 10 power play goals
Pavelski – 8 power play goals
Burns – 5 power play goals
Thornton – 4 power play goals
Top 5 Blues on the PP this season:
Backes – 8 power play goals
Pietrangelo – 6 power play goals
Arnott – 6 power play goals
Shattenkirk – 5 power play goals
Perron – 5 power play goals
DID YOU KNOW?*Impress your friends…
the Sharks are 112-for-766 all time on the power play (14.6%) and 564-for-696 on the penalty kill (81.0%) in the Stanley Cup playoffs.*All-time vs. the Blues…
San Jose is 9-for-88 on the power play (10.2%) and 76-for-90 on the penalty kill (84.5%) all-time vs. the Blues in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
is the Sharks all-time leader with 20 power play goals in the playoffs with Joe Pavelski
2nd with eight power play markers.
ADVANTAGE GOES TO...PP – San Jose
The Sharks PP has been lethal this season with a power play percentage over 20% at both at home and on the road. Although the Blues penalty kill has been strong this season, often the time, their goaltender was their best penalty killer making some big time saves. San Jose does not necessarily need to score on every power play, but they do need to keep the puck deep in the zone with the man advantage and gather momentum with a strong power play chance. Look for the PPG goal specialist Couture, Pavelski, and Marleau to have a big series on the PP for the Sharks.PK – St. Louis
The Blues penalty kill got stronger as the year went along as they allowed just 40 goals while shorthanded this season. Yes, their goaltending was terrific during shorthanded situations, but the Blues are solid defensively in their own end and give up very few 2nd chances. The Sharks need to be weary on the PP, as the Blues are not afraid to try a shorthanded bid, especially on home ice led by David Backes and Patrik Berglund. St. Louis had five shorthanded goals at home this season – and those type of goals can be HUGE momentum swings over the course of a game or playoff series.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Strong special teams play will be key for the Sharks in the opening round series vs. the Blues – especially on the road. The Sharks have too many offensive weapons on the power play, not to be successful, despite the Blues strong overall penalty kill. Look for the Sharks to get plenty of traffic in front of the net early in this series and try to get pucks through from the point on the power play. No shot is a bad shot vs. the Blues on the power play and the Sharks need to make sure to bury their chances in order to be successful in this series. On the other end; San Jose’s penalty kill - which has struggled most of the season, has been much better of late, and will continue to improve in the playoffs. If the Sharks can outscore the Blues in special teams play… it will move them out step closer to the Stanley Cup! Solid special teams play is a must for the Sharks in this series and the rest of the playoffs! Go Sharks Go!