San Jose Sharks Win Second Straight With New-Look Lines
The San Jose Sharks are still known around the league as perennial playoff choke artists. However, the way they have snapped out of their recent funk should start to put more fear into the minds of the rest of the Western Conference playoff contenders.
Now two wins after a six-game losing streak (five straight in regulation) may not be enough to say the Sharks are completely back on track, but the manner in which they have won the last two games can't go unnoticed.
For the first time in their history, the Sharks are playing with three different forward lines capable of "first line" performances.
The three members of San Jose's Team Canada line (Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Dany Heatley) are now each playing on separate forward lines.
And after playing two games with the new combinations, these three have accounted for only a mere five out of the 21 points.
Having the top dogs account for just 23.8 percent of the scoring is a huge positive sign moving forward for the Sharks.
Throughout most of this season, the Sharks have depended on these three for an overwhelming amount of scoring.
But with them split up, the scoring can be spread around, which bodes well for the upcoming playoffs.
Having a balanced attack gives the Sharks a much more feared lineup that will cause fits for their playoff opponents to match up against.
However, if it weren't for one player in particular, the new-look lines would have been nearly impossible to develop.
Logan Couture, San Jose's first-round draft choice back in 2007, has developed into a quality play-making center.
The rookie's offensive tools have made it possible to create scoring chemistry over three different lines.
With Heatley and Devin Setoguchi on his wings, Couture is able to play alongside skaters who are used to being relied on for offense, just like he was for the Worcester Sharks.
Due to the instant success, these new-look combinations might just be here to stay if the Sharks keep on winning.
As long as the rookie center continues to play strong at both ends of the ice, this "three-finned" Shark attack could end up as the combination used in the postseason.
For more on Logan Couture's presence, check out my brand new Sharks blog @ SJSHockey.com.
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