Sharks: Three Keys to a Successful Road Trip

by | Feb 6, 2017

Sharks: Three Keys to a Successful Road Trip

by | Feb 6, 2017

After a quick stop in San Jose, the Sharks will head back on the road for a four-game swing that starts Tuesday in Buffalo against the Sabres.

Here’s a look at three keys to having a successful road trip.

1. Create offensive opportunities
If the Sharks get things going in the defensive zone, they’ll receive offensive opportunities. The Sabres (21-20-10) have had a hard time scoring goals this season. So do the Devils (22-21-10), who are the cellar-dwellar in a competitive Metropolitan Division. The Bruins (26-23-6) and Flyers (26-20-7) currently retain their playoff spots.

So far, offensive defenseman Brent Burns has been coming through with 22 goals and 33 assists — 16 on the power play — along with a plus-16 rating in 53 games. Burns is a significant part of Team Teal, but he’s not the only key offensive player. Captain Joe Pavelski compliments the star defenseman with 17 goals, five coming from the power play, along with 29 assists and a plus-eight rating in 53 games.

The Sharks must create a lot of chances and find opportunities to score because they’ve been playing slow hockey as of late.

Logan Couture told Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area Saturday night: “I don’t think we did a good enough job getting to the rebounds because there were a lot sitting around his crease tonight. We would have liked to bang a couple in there.”

2. Play defense
Defensive lapses have cost the Sharks some games. In the first half of the season, the injuries to Marc-Edouard Vlasic and David Schlemko left head coach Peter DeBoer with no other options than to switch up his defense pairs. Both players have recovered, but they’ve been struggling to put a few good games together. Vlasic has picked up zero goals and two assists in his last five games while Schlemko has collected just one assist in the same amount of time. The lack of production from Paul Martin, Justin Braun and Brenden Dillon isn’t helping.

The Sharks have to play solid hockey to get points on this road trip. Playing good defense is a perfect place to start. If the defensive pairs kill off penalties on the power play, they’re going to limit second chance opportunities.

Martin Jones (27-15-3) has blocked 1,191 shots in 45 starts thus far. He has a 2.19 goals against average and a .919 save percentage. As the main netminder, Jones has to keep up the good work.

3. Handle the physicality
Saturday’s matchup between the Sharks and Coyotes showed how tough the “Desert Dogs” can be. On paper, the Coyotes are not on the Sharks’ level, but they can put up a fight or two. The Sharks have to find other ways to win.

The Coyotes are just a sample of physical hockey. Traveling through the Eastern Conference is likely going to be quite the experience for the Sharks. The Metropolitan Division is arguably the most competitive in hockey and the Atlantic Division is a close second. Games are going to get more physical and meaningful with playoffs on the horizon.

The Sharks have to ramp up their physicality and turn games into special teams battles in order to win games. San Jose has scored on just 29 out of 167 power play opportunities for a power play percentage of 17.7 percent so far.

Pavelski didn’t use the “terrible” ice as an excuse Saturday, telling Kurz: “You’ve got to make them count…We didn’t have any finish. It’s on us regardless of the ice, regardless of the situation.”

Fights are bound to happen in hockey, but the Sharks have to be desperate and capitalize with the man advantage.

Sharks split the road trip with wins against the Sabres and Devils.

Coyotes Need a Recipe for Success

Coyotes Need a Recipe for Success

The Arizona Coyotes need both a permanent home to call their own and a string of successful draft picks to help develop this franchise into a contender in the Central Division. Edmonton native and 2021 first round draft pick Dylan Guenther is one of those key pieces of the puzzle who may help this franchise in the long run.

read more
Photo Gallery: Devils vs Flyers (12/03/2022)

Photo Gallery: Devils vs Flyers (12/03/2022)

The New Jersey Devils unveiled their reverse retro jerseys on the road against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. Their uniforms used the colors of their previous franchises, the Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Scouts, by using blue, gold, red, and white. The visiting New Jersey Devils defeated the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 3-2 during regulation.

read more
NHL rookie rankings: Two-player race for the top spot?

Matty Beniers continues to excel for the red-hot Kraken. But can Vegas' Logan Thompson make it a race for the Calder? How do the best NHL rookies stack up? [...]

793 goals and counting: The Alex Ovechkin chase to 800 tracker

The Washington Capitals star is projected to reach the 800-goal mark this season. Follow along as he chases down this accomplishment. [...]

Marner nets 2, sets Maple Leafs record in OT loss

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner set a franchise record and extended the league's longest active point streak to 19 games Saturday night with two goals in a 4-3 overtime… [...]

Wings' Bertuzzi out 6 weeks after hand surgery

Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi will miss six weeks after undergoing hand surgery, the team announced Friday. [...]

'Pretty awesome': TB's Stamkos hits 1K points

Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos became the 95th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 points and the second member of the Lightning. [...]

Kings loan Petersen to AHL after clearing waivers

Cal Petersen has been loaned to the Los Angeles Kings' American Hockey League affiliate after he cleared waivers. [...]

Lightning's Maroon mocked, donates to charity

Lightning forward Pat Maroon makes charitable gesture after being mocked by NESN broadcaster Jack Edwards. [...]

Pens' Letang out indefinitely after having stroke

Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is out indefinitely after the second stroke of his NHL career. [...]

Kraken outlast Kings 9-8 in OT: 'Messed-up night'

Andre Burakovsky had two goals, including the winner in overtime, and the Kraken defeated the Kings 9-8 on Tuesday night in the highest-scoring NHL game this season. [...]

Why this is the golden era of NYC-area NHL hockey

This could be the fourth time in history that the Rangers, Islanders and Devils make the playoffs -- and all three have legitimate cases as serious Stanley Cup contenders. [...]

Ever wonder what it would be like if your everyday car was a ZAMBONI?!?!?

Wonder no longer…

Check out The Zambonis' latest hit, "Slow Whip"!