Sharks Looking To Remain Tough On The Penalty Kill
/ San Jose Sharks
One of the biggest keys to the Sharks three game win streak in the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Nashville Predators has been the penalty kill. The Sharks knew going into the series that the Predators were a fast and relentless team that thrived on the power play because of their speed.
It was evident in Game 1 that the Predators power play unit was for real, as the squad managed to find the back of the net on four separate occasions while on the man advantage, puzzling the Sharks and putting them down one game in the series.
But the Sharks didn’t sit back and take the penalty kill lightly. They worked on it the next day at practice and came out much stronger in Game 2, shutting out Nashville, 3-0.
“The special teams have been very important,” said Christian Ehrhoff. “It was good that we figured out a way to kill their power plays because that’s the only reason they beat us in game one. We’ve just got to continue to do that.”
In the first meeting between the two teams, the Predators had their way deep in San Jose’s zone with the man advantage, taking plenty of time to pass the puck around while setting up quality scoring chances. The Sharks have since made adjustments and found ways to solve that problem.
“We played a little more aggressive and tried not to give them as much time,” said Ehrhoff. “That worked out much better for us.”
“We put a little more pressure on them, both when they were in the neutral zone coming across the blue line and also in the zone,” added Tom Preissing. “We gave them less time to do what they wanted to do with it.
Since their 4-for-7 night on the power play in Game 1, the Predators have been stifled by the Sharks defense, who have held them to just one goal in 20 attempts, including an 0-for-9 night in Game 2.
“Obviously it lost us the game when we let up four power play goals,” said Preissing. “It’s something that we really wanted to shore up. So far we’ve done a pretty good job of it, but they’re still very talented and good on the power play. They’re getting Zidlicky back full time tonight, so it’ll be tough again to shut them down.”
If San Jose can continue to stay out of the penalty box and remain tight on defense when they do visit the sin bin, they will put themselves in the driver seat to advance to the next round of the playoffs.