They wrapped up 2017 as poorly as possible, losing by a touchdown and a missed extra point to the Dallas Stars in the first stop on a six-game road trip. The good news, both in the new year and on the remainder of their trip., at least, is that there's nowhere to go but up
but the game was so lopsided the Sharks took their first penalty two minutes before they attempted their first shot. Only three players ended the game with a zero in the plus/minus column.,They not only never led
It was also, literally,, one of the worst losses in franchise history
New Year's Eve marked the 11th time San Jose was shut out and allowed six or more goals, and the first in nine years. Five of those happened in the franchise's first two seasons, 36 more than the next closest team., when the Sharks lost 129 games
That's not to say this Sharks team is doomed to repeat the sins of their expansion-era forefathers. They're not without flaws (their New Year's resolutions should be centered on scoring more at even strength), of course. But San Jose is, at worst, even though they'll probably need good fortune along the way., a Wild Card team, and could be much more
the Sharks just had "one of those nights.",Like many of the people ringing in the New Year with a ringing headache and fuzzy memories
when he was asked if he was concerned about the team's record on the road (8-6-2) as opposed to SAP Center.,Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer essentially said as much after the game
" DeBoer told reporters on Sunday. "This was a poor game tonight.","I don't look at this like we've been a poor road team
it was just a bad night.","I don't think it's a symptom of something bigger
One bad night won't automatically doom San Jose on this road trip. The Sharks will need a better start, and better discipline, as they've lost consecutive road games just once this season., when they play the Canadiens in Montreal on Tuesday. It's fair to expect just that
Couture left San Jose's matchup on December 14 with a concussion, Couture is reportedly close to a return.,Authentic Carter Hutton jersey
, and has not played since. With the team set to begin a stretch of five road games in eight days on Sunday
The 28-year-old was a full participant in Saturday's practice and centered Melker Karlsson and Kevin Labanc on the team's second line.
"He looked great today, full participant. It's a great sign and we'll see how he feels tomorrow."," Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer told reporters. "Great energy
and will continue to do the same.,Authentic Jake Allen jersey
,Couture told reporters he's not quite ready to say whether or not he can play on New Year's Eve against the Dallas Stars. He's taken his time in his recovery so far
" Couture said.,"[I'm] [s]till up in the air. We'll see how I feel today and then tomorrow do the same
That partner,adidas Philipp Grubauer jersey
, of course, although the injury is not related to his ailing ankle., is Paul Martin,Authentic Nicklas Backstrom jersey
, who's missed all but two games this season due to complications from offseason ankle surgery. Martin is set to miss yet more time after experiencing a setback in his recovery
Martin's absence, has naturally led to questions about whether their separation is causing Burns to struggle., combined with the fact that Burns has gone 20 games without a goal this season
That's not the case.
Burns is actually playing a bit better alongside Ryan than he was with Martin. In just over 257 minutes together at even strength, up from Burns and Martin's 52.13 percent mark together.,Authentic Philipp Grubauer jersey
, the Sharks have controlled 55.74 percent of the shot attempts with Burns and Ryan on the ice
The Sharks are attempting more shots than their opponents when Burns and Ryan play, they're doing so at a higher rate. With Burns and Ryan on the ice, and just over two more shots per 60 minutes are hitting the net., the Sharks are attempting nearly nine more shots per 60 minutes than when Burns and Martin together
As we've written about previously, Burns' scoring struggles date back to the stretch run last season, just as it's not Ryan's fault now., when he was playing alongside Martin. It wasn't Martin's fault then
The puck simply isn't going in. Through 20 games this season, Burns had 83 shots on goal and seven goals., Burns has 82 shots on goal and zero goals. Through 20 games in his Norris Trophy-winning campaign
It's not like Burns was super lucky then, either, the outlier., as his 8.3 percent shooting percentage through 20 games last season was only one percent higher than his career average. Shooting at a zero percent clip after 20 games is, clearly
Together, Burns and Ryan have been more unlucky than anything else. When the two skate during five-on-five play, much lower than the 8.26 percent San Jose scored on when Martin and Burns played together., the Sharks are scoring on only 3.45 percent of their shots
At 32 years old, but it would be an even bigger one to expect him to struggle much longer alongside Ryan. , it would be a stretch to expect Burns to match or exceed his heights from a season ago
If you were starting to get worried that sports fans in Boston didn’t have enough good things to be happy about lately I am here to bring you some good news: Their hockey team is looking like a legitimate contender again. Especially now that they are healthy.
One of biggest developments though are the fact they have rebuilt their defense over the past couple of years with an infusion of young talent, including one of the league’s top rookies in Charlie McAvoy. He is not only playing more than 23 minutes per game, but is also playing them at an extremely high level. Once the strength of their roster, and some trades that depleted their depth. With Torey Krug taking a big step forward and the development of McAvoy and Brandon Carlo that unit is once again a formidable one for a contender., the Bruins defense took a significant hit in recent years due to age, the salary cap
Then there is the resurgence of starting goaltender Tuukka Rask.
but he wasn’t really the same player we saw when he was helping lead the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Final in 2013 and was one of the top goalies in the league. After posting some league average numbers the past two seasons Rask is back to performing like one of the top goalies in the league and has been nearly unbeatable during the Bruins’ recent hot streak.,It’s not that Rask was necessarily bad the past two seasons
a stretch where he has allowed just 15 goals. He has allowed more than two goals just once during that stretch and more than one goal just four times.,Entering play on Tuesday he is 10-0-1 in his past 11 decisions
1. Tampa Bay Lightning — The Lightning are running away with the top spot in the Eastern Conference. They enter Tuesday with a seven-point lead over the Capitals and have still played two fewer games. What is not to love about this team right now? They deserve their own category at the moment.
2. Vegas Golden Knights — At this point they are not just the best expansion team in NHL history, 9-0-1 in their past 10 games. Simply the best NHL story in decades., Authentic Steven Stamkos jersey
,they are on their way to becoming the best expansion team in any of the four major sports. Another long winning streak
3. Washington Capitals — Here come the Capitals. After winning just 10 of their first 20 games they have stormed back over the next 20 by going 14-4-2. They enter Tuesday a point ahead of the Devils in the top spot in the Metropolitan Division.
4. New Jersey Devils — If it wasn’t for what Vegas is doing these guys would probably be the biggest surprise in the league this season. The biggest individual player surprise? Brian Gibbons is tied for the team lead in goals at the moment.
5. Boston Bruins — Starting to look like a contender for all of the reasons mentioned above.
but still some questions about the bottom half.,6. Los Angeles Kings — Still having a great season but have cooled off a bit since we last checked in on the power rankings. The top of the roster is great
7. Nashville Predators — Their depth is going to be tested for a bit here without Filip Forsberg. He was on pace for another 30-goal season before he landed on injured reserve.
8. Winnipeg Jets — I feel like Patrik Laine isn’t getting enough attention this season. He is on pace for 37 goals and if he gets there would have two 35-goal seasons before his age 20 season in the NHL. That has only been done by four players in NHL history: Brian Bellows, Sidney Crosby and Dale Hawerchuk., Jimmy Carson
winning just three of their past 10 games. Not time to panic yet. It happens over the course of an 82-game season.,9. St. Louis Blues — They have hit their first slump of the season
but they keep stacking up points. Their upcoming schedule though is absolutely brutal and is going to be a huge test.,10. New York Rangers — They don’t always look great
11. Toronto Maple Leafs — We’re back the wild,adidas Carter Hutton jersey
, but they get a lot of home cooking over the next few weeks.,adidas Steven Stamkos jersey
, high-scoring games that have to be driving Mike Babcock crazy. Their recent road trip was not particularly kind to them
including five games where they have surrendered at least five. Not what we are used to seeing from this team the past couple of seasons.,12. Columbus Blue Jackets — They have given up at least four goals in six of their past 10 games
but not as big as the drop in shooting percentage. Little bit of bad luck at play? If that corrects itself could be a huge development or the Sharks in the second half.,13. San Jose Sharks — Joe Pavelski is on pace for what would be (on a per-game basis) the worst goal-scoring season of his career. Shot volume has taken a bit of a dip
14. Carolina Hurricanes — They are right on the playoff bubble with what is,adidas Jake Allen jersey
, once again, so close. It is almost painful how close they are., one of the worst team save percentages in the NHL. How does this keep happening every single season no matter who the goalie is? They are so,Authentic Michael Hutchinson jersey
15. New York Islanders — Josh Bailey is on pace for more than 100 points. This probably is not getting the attention it deserves.
16. Dallas Stars — Very hot and cold team. Still should probably expect more given what the top of their roster looks like and how many big moves they make every summer.
17. Minnesota Wild — They are finally getting Zach Parise back. Getting him back healthy, could make this a interesting team. They have hung around despite those two major injuries., as well as Nino Neiderreiter
especially as the team has only won two games this season with him out of the lineup.,18. Chicago Blackhawks — Corey Crawford‘s injury problems are starting to become a concern
19. Philadelphia Flyers — Very quietly Claude Giroux is on pace for what would be a career high in points. His career high was 93 points (in 77 games) in 2011-12. He is currently on track for 99 if he is able to play in all 82 games this season (and maintain this same pace).
too late? Even with it they are still five points out of a playoff spot with four teams ahead of them.,adidas Michael Hutchinson jersey
,20. Florida Panthers — The Panthers have won five in a row and are trying to make a little bit of a move in the Eastern Conference. But is that winning streak a case of too little
21. Anaheim Ducks — Getting their centers back healthy might make a pretty big difference. They have won four out of five and are, back into a playoff position., adidas Nicklas Backstrom jersey
,as of Tuesday
especially after their big offseason moves.,22. Calgary Flames — Johnny Gaudreau is amazing but this really is not the way the Flames envisioned this season going
23. Colorado Avalanche — Exciting offense plus bad defense and goaltending can at least make for some fun hockey. If you’re going to miss the playoffs again you should at least be entertaining. Nathan MacKinnon alone has been worth the price of admission this season.
24. Pittsburgh Penguins — The “played a lot of hockey the past two years” excuse is starting to get old. It is simply a flawed team that has too many empty roster spots (like, the entire fourth line and a big part of the third line) at the moment. Out of their 13 games in December they only won two of them in regulation., for example
25. Edmonton Oilers — They showed some signs of life with a four-game winning streak in mid-December but then followed it up with a three-game losing streak. That gap between them and a playoff spot really is not getting any smaller.
26. Detroit Red Wings — At this point it’s just a matter of watching to see when — or if — they start making trades. Mike Green would probably be an attractive player. Could they find a taker for Jimmy Howard?