It’s no real surprise that the San Jose Sharks made the playoffs considering they have the most consecutive playoff births in the league behind the Detroit Redwings. Let’s face it, if the Shark’s did not make the playoffs there would be some sort of riot. Or just me running around breaking things in a USA Pavelski jersey. Anyways, let’s get down to business. This is how the Sharks made the playoffs
I have talked about it all year and I still refuse to shut up about it. The Sharks have a dominant defense. The stats are there to back it up too. The Sharks give up the fifth fewest goals in the NHL. Moreover, with the new NHL scheduling rules, there are no real ways to pad these stats. The Sharks have played everyone in the league and have found success in a decently strong conference.
This is something that seems new to the Sharks. Or at least to fans who started watching the Sharks in 2011. The Sharks are a top ten scoring team this year. They have averaged about 2.91 goals per game. That’s the exact same as a St. Louis Blues, who are a Stanley Cup favorite this year.
Home Ice Advantage
The SAP center is hands down one of the hardest places to play in the NHL. This place makes the Seattle Seahawks stadium sound like a Church on Monday morning. Consistently loud and consistently crazy and it only gets worse for the opposing team during the playoffs. Their home record is the second best in the NHL. The only team with a better home record is the Boston Bruins who are subsequently the best team in the NHL right now. It gets even crazier when you realize that to reach the playoffs this year in the NHL you needed at least 40 wins. (Detroit Redwings and Dallas Stars are the lowest seeds with an average of 39.5 wins) So technically, the Sharks would have only had to win 10 out of 41 road games in order to make the playoffs.
Rally Behind the Joes
A lot of the Sharks offensive productivity is generated by Joes. Except neither Joe is by no stretch of the imagination are average. The two Joe are none other than Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. This year Joe Thornton did what Joe Thornton does best and that is lead his team to a great season. However, his numbers are almost as amazing as his leadership. He put up 76 points which is the 13th most in the league. The interesting part about that stat is that 65 of those points are assists. Joe Thornton is pretty much Steve Nash on skates. Talk about moving the puck. So what about the other Joe? Well, if Joe Thornton was a playmaker then Joe Pavelski is a play finisher. He had the third most goals in the NHL with 41, only two more behind second place. He also had 38 assists which adds up to 79 points and is good enough to put him in the top ten in the NHL for points.
If you had asked me on opening night if the Sharks would make the playoffs I would have told you it is almost a guarantee. This is a team that is expected to me competitive year in and year out. Sharks fans are not mad about not making the playoffs because that doesn’t really happen. We’re pissed off we haven’t won it all.