Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks
By: Peter Elliott
CHICAGO–Peter DeBoer’s squad was deprived of something other than a win on Friday night: opportunities on the power play.
The Sharks only had one chance to execute on the man advantage in their 3-1 loss to the Blackhawks. It lasted 22 seconds.
San Jose’s only time on the ice with less than five red sweaters was during the third period, when Chicago defenseman Connor Murphy was booked to the penalty box with an interference minor. 22 seconds later, Brent Burns was sent off to the Sharks penalty box on a holding minor, offsetting the Sharks’ 5-on-4 upper hand. If I haven’t stressed it enough, 22 seconds is not enough time to type a tweet, much less let alone score a goal.
The power play had been a strength for the Sharks all season and a reason for their high offensive benchmarks. But lately, not so much.
The team is suffering through a scoreless 0-19 stretch in the power play category, an unusual drought for a team that has been so stellar on the man advantage for the majority of the season. The Sharks still remain among the best in the league in the category, up there with division leaders Nashville, Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay. But if their recent struggles continue, they surely won’t keep up with that company for very long.
“We need to get a little bit of that confidence back, stepping over the boards and understanding that it can win us some games,” said Sharks captain Joe Pavelski of his team’s power play scoring skid, per Kevin Kurz of The Athletic. “We need to be better there. Bottom line is we need to execute, make another play, stick one in the net.”
As noted, it’s absence has been sorely missed on the offensive side of the ice recently. Especially on Thursday night during a 7-1 blowout at the hands of Nashville, in which DeBoer’s squad failed to net on a single goal during their five power play opportunities. The Sharks undoubtedly just need both more opportunities and repetitions with the power play.
Success will come soon.
The power play magic that has helped the Sharks postseason aspirations is currently M.I.A., but luckily for the Sharks, they’ll have time to re-discover it before a Sunday evening game against Minnesota. The Wild boast a pedestrian penalty kill percentage of 80.8%, which makes the playoff contending Wild a ripe target for a power play resurgence.
San Jose has been able to maintain a 6-5 record in the month of February, although that is not ideal for a team in the middle of a tight playoff race. A stronger showing on the man advantage certainly could have alleviated some of those deficits.
The Sharks are set to square off against the Blackhawks again on March 1 in San Jose. Maybe then, the Sharks can get a power play that lasts a whole 30 seconds.