San Jose Sharks Earn Three Points Again in Western Canada

MJ Kasprzak@BayAreaCheezhedSenior Writer IIMarch 14, 2012

Last time the San Jose Sharks faced games on back-to-back nights in Alberta, Canada, they lost in overtime to the Edmonton Oilers and beat the Calgary Flames in regulation. The three points helped them rebound from two straight losses and three in four games.

This week, they turned the tables with the regulation win coming in Edmonton and overtime loss in Calgary. But they hope it, too, can end losing streaks of 0-3-2 and 4-11-3.

It was the sixth time in 12 back-to-backs that the Sharks have earned at least three points in the two games. They have 28 of a possible 48 overall—a point percentage (.583) higher than the rest of the season (.556), even though all of those games are on the road.

The problem is the teams they are fighting for position with just keep on earning points. Their Edmonton victory came along with a Phoenix point earned in overtime and Tuesday's overtime loss was surpassed by victories for the Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings. (Both links provide details about both games they reference.)

But San Jose simply has to worry about their own play. If they win out, they earn the third seed in the Western Conference.

Tuesday, that play was good enough to win. They had 28 more shot attempts and nine more on goal than Calgary did, holding their hosts to two shots on goal in the third period. They won nine more faceoffs and still fell just two short in hits.

But the Flames had nine more takeaways and just one more giveaway. They had over twice as many blocked shots and their goalie allowed less than half the ratio of shots on net past him—none of the three goals Antti Niemi allowed were soft, but Miikka Kiprusoff made more great saves.

That is the risk you run when you play a goalie on consecutive nights. Nemo has not been good enough, nor Thomas Greiss bad enough, to warrant that gamble.

San Jose is now home and will face the dangerous Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings on Thursday and Saturday. They need to get three points in those two games if they want to start gaining on the Dallas Stars.

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