|Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, right, makes a save on a shot by San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau (12) in a shootout of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010. Boston won 2-1. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) |
One truism about the San Jose Sharks over the past several years is they are among the best road teams in the NHL. In fact, since the beginning of the 2006-07 season, the Sharks are the
best road team in the NHL, garnering a staggering 63.7 percent of the available points away from HP Pavilion.
In 180 games, San Jose has accumulated both points 112 times and taken a single point in 18 contests.
The Detroit Red Wings are the only team to accrue more than 60 percent of the road points in that time period, and they earned 61.7 percent of the possible points.
San Jose’s make up has changed over time, but the team’s core players have been around for most of the run and they take a tremendous amount of pride in wrangling wins in the oppositions buildings.
With the terrific atmosphere provided at HP Pavilion, it’s easy to explain why the Sharks are strong at home, but it takes a special mentality to pull off the task on the road.
When San Jose travels, they are extremely tight in the defensive zone, as they have allowed only 494 road goals since 2006-07. For a comparison, no other club has allowed less than 500 in the time frame.
During the current year, Team Teal currently possesses the fifth-best Western Conference road record at 14-9-3. However, it’s the recent numbers that show San Jose is resuming their true form. The Sharks have grabbed seven of the last possible eight points in their battles and 15 of the 20 most recent points.
|San Jose Sharks' Dan Boyle, left, and Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin grapple before being separated by referees during the third period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) |
This is important as the Sharks have embarked on their longest road trip of the season, a seven game challenge that began in Anaheim Wednesday night with a win and extends for six more contests. San Jose won’t have any home cooking until Feb. 17.
There are five consecutive games in the Eastern Time zone before a quick Central Time zone battle with Nashville on the way home.
Next up is Boston, which still has a big game feel every time Big Joe rolls into town, and the Bruins are leading their division. That is followed by Washington who only happens to be the previous Presidents’ Trophy winner. Columbus follows and the Blue Jackets always play the Sharks hard and are fighting to again be part of the postseason party.
Fifth up on the trip is the New Jersey Devils. Much has been made of their struggles early this year, but they have rallied to go 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. A quick trek south to visit the Panthers, who are working to jump into the top eight out east, is followed by the sojourn’s finale and a Western Conference battle in Music City. Nashville is playoff ready again and holds a one-point advantage over San Jose for the fourth spot out west and finishing fourth or higher guarantees home ice in the first round.
It will be a challenging trip for the Sharks, but if they handle things as they have in the past, and recently this year, it could be a very fruitful batch of games.
San Jose will visit Boston Saturday at 10 a.m. and the game will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.