The old saying that “home is where the heart is” rings loud and clear with the San Jose Sharks when it comes to HP Pavilion.
Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders will mark the halfway point of the Sharks home schedule and they currently have an 18-0-2 mark on home ice. It is amazing that Team Teal has skated in 20 home contests and not lost in regulation while earning 38 of a possible 40 points.
The winning percentage comes out to an incomprehensible 95 percent once points are factored for the two losses after regulation.
“You see that zero in the loss column and you want to keep it going,” said Ryane Clowe
San Jose’s best home seasons totaled 55 points in 2003-04 and 2005-06 and currently the Sharks are pacing for 77 points – a 22 point increase. It would be unfair to expect the same results to continue all season, but it shouldn’t be put past this year’s team to pull something close.
The Sharks home numbers are impressive compared with their peers as San Jose is the only NHL club without a regulation loss before their home fans. In the West, Calgary has 29 home points through 20 games and Detroit has 28 home points through 18 games.
Out East, Washington is leading the way with 33 points in 18 home games and Boston has 29 points at home while playing in a scant 16 home games.
Team Teal possesses the second best road point total in the Western Conference, so obviously they play well everywhere, but the answer to the home success appears to be very simple.
“I think the guys just play with more confidence,” said Sharks Captain Patrick Marleau
The club definitely won’t get complacent or overconfident.
“We can still be doing things much better,” said Marleau.
Despite all the success, the home mark is rarely addressed.
“We’ve hardly talked about it,” said Clowe. “Maybe after a win, someone will yell ‘another win at home.’”
Even with that, there is an extra push in the stride when the Sharks skate in San Jose.
“You come to the rink knowing you are going to play hard,” said Marleau. “It is just a feeling you get coming to the rink. The excitement and adrenaline is there.”
“There is a feeling out there,” said Dan Boyle
. “It’s just an energy.”
The focus is never on the current mark, but the Sharks players are aware that other teams know how difficult HP Pavilion has become to enter.
“I think it is huge to have that identity, especially when it comes to the playoffs,” said Marleau. “You want teams to think they have to steal a win.”
There was obviously no script to dominate this strongly at home, although there was clear intent to make HP Pavilion a hard place for opponents to get a win or even a point.
“I think it just started with the hot start,” said Clowe. “You a lot in a row and you take a lot of pride in wanting the success to continue.”
Routine is a big part as there is the same bed every night instead of a random hotel room, but Clowe points back to the one advantage that isn’t in every NHL rink.
“When you’re at home and you’re legs aren’t there, you have 17,000 people giving you energy and that helps,” said Clowe.
The energy should definitely be at HP Pavilion on Saturday night when another sellout is expected for home game number 21.
skated the entire practice on Friday and could be ready to go.
“Doug may be ready to go tomorrow and was better today that we expected,” said McLellan.
Even with that, the recall of Derek Joslin may not have been in vain.
“Derek may get some game time,” said McLellan. “Semenov may get to play a little forward.”
Jody Shelley was given the day off from the ice.
“Jody was a little sore from the game and we gave him a maintenance day,” said McLellan. “It had nothing to do with the fight.”
San Jose will face the New York Islanders on Saturday night in a 7:30 affair that will be on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com. Tickets can be found at www.ticketmaster.com, the HP Pavilion Ticket Office or on the Power Play Ticket Trader at http://teamexchange.ticketmaster.com/html/eventlist.htmI?l=EN&team=sharks.