The San Jose Sharks' miscues while up a man this season are becoming quite the pesky problem.
For the second time in five games, the dreaded Short Handed Goal Against (SHGA) reared it’s evil head and forced an abrupt end to a promising Sharks winning streak.
Notching a tally in the SHGA column is one of the gravest sins you can commit in the game of hockey.
When this unfortunate turn of events happens to your team, it is easy to just throw away the occurrence as a fluke. Considering there is a 12-to-one chance that a “shorty” actually occurred in the last game you watched, a SHGA is not exactly a common happening.
Currently, 8.9-percent of NHL games have a shorthanded goal occur, which is considerably lower than the 9.7 percent it finished at last year.
In fact, since 2005-06, the chances of catching a “short one” have dropped an entire percentage point season-over-season.
Unfortunately for the Sharks, their stats in regards to SHGAs are doing their best impressions of salmon and swimming up the other way.
In the 2006-07 season, the Sharks only succumbed to the “shorty” four times the entire season, good enough for second in the NHL. But things quickly turned to bad the next season where they dropped to 20th, allowing their opponents to catch them off guard on the PP nine times.
Things looked liked they could not get any worse after giving up 11 in 2007-08, but at their current pace the Sharks are looking at 15 SHGAs by the end of this season.
The Sharks have caught the wrong side of these moderately rare occurrences one too many times over the past week, and both times the SHGA’s cost them precious standing points.
It is hard to forget the Chicago Blackhawks debacle that took place at the HP Pavilion just over a week ago. Three shorthanded goals, during two terrible periods, in a game where Troy Brouwer, Marian Hossa, and Patrick Sharp pissed all over the Sharks’ pear tree.
The Sharks added to their shorthanded woes Wednesday night by giving up another shorthanded goal to St. Louis.
With a shade under two minutes left in the game, the Sharks had a zebra call go their way and things were looking up...but boy were they wrong.
Instead of attacking the net and trying to extend their paper thin lead, the Sharks chose to play keep away with the puck in hopes of killing the clock.
After a great face-off win deep in their zone, the Sharks passed the puck 11 times before they eventually turned it over. The turnover led to an odd man rush but thanks to an amazing save by Nabby, the Blues were kept off the board…but only momentarily.
An avalanche of unfortunate events (including an icing chase that gassed Joe Thornton and created another odd man rush the other way) ended up biting the Sharks in the tail fin and eventually led to Colaiacovo’s tying shorthanded goal.
Drew Remenda put it best when he said that this goal was “almost unforgivable.” But perhaps he shouldn’t have stop short of calling it absolutely reprehensive.
This influx in SHGA by the Sharks could be because their power play tends to give up one too many of those odd-man rushes.
They often try to get too flashy with their power play zone entries and the slightest miscues in these plays can create jaw clenching opportunities going the other way.
The awkward entry play where Boyle skates at full speed towards the blue line but then puts on the brakes right before entering the zone and does a drop pass irritates the hell out of me and has certainly been the catalyst to several odd man rushes for the other team.
While it is hard to seriously knock a power play unit that ranks fifth in the NHL and scores at a 22.5 percent clip, the increase in this highly undesirable stat could prove to be a bigger problem down the road if it is not properly addressed sometime soon.
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