Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sharks Return From Road Trip For Six Game Home Stretch

The Sharks return home after putting up a successful and dominant display of skill during their six game road trip in the east coast. While the Sharks left home with a disappointing 1-3-0 record, they returned with a more favorable 6-4-0, winning five of their six away games. While the Sharks’ impressive road trip may have concluded with an unfortunate loss to the New York Rangers, their five game win streak proved their capability of being the top team in the NHL. Even the best teams have less than remarkable games and lose, and the loss to the Rangers was no exception.

Despite being away from the loud and supportive HP Pavilion crowd for six games, the Sharks return home to Silicon Valley for another six – this time with the support of the Sharks’ well-known exuberant crowd. This time, the fans should be able to see a more experienced team; a team that has ironed out their beginning season woes.

To successfully win hockey games, especially on the road, it requires the effort of the entire team to push themselves ahead of their opponents. No doubt the Sharks were hungrier and played a more intelligent game than they teams they played on their victorious road trip games. As the NHL already encompasses the most elite players, the difference between good teams and great teams relies entirely on strategy and finding crafty ways to score. Although an entire team is responsible for their on-ice victories, there were indeed several notable players who stood out that much more and must be recognized.

Joe Pavelski undoubtedly rises to the top, as he was far and away the most successful Sharks player on the road trip, notching eleven points, placing his total firmly on top of the team with thirteen total points so far in the season. It is clear his placement on the first line with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau is clicking quite well.

In addition, captain Joe Thornton has not failed to disappoint, scoring two goals in the Detroit Red Wings game and contributing helpers in each of the Sharks’ away games, with the exception of the game against the New York Islanders. Logan Couture added a few goals as well, and the ex-Minnesota Wild duo of Martin Havlat and Brent Burns have proven to be terrific assets to the team.

While the first road trip game against the New Jersey Devils was won in a shootout, the other winning contests were more decisive; three out of the five wins were two goal victories, each capped with empty net goals to bring each respective game to their conclusion.

The Sharks may have looked extremely sloppy when they played the New York Rangers, however fans alike should be hopeful they will come back to display the chemistry they demonstrated during the first five games of their road trip.

Tonight, the Sharks begin their home stretch with a game against the Eastern Conference’s Pittsburgh Penguins. The Sharks have statistically done well versus the Penguins (with their last win in San Jose occurring in 1997), although the Penguins should not be taken lightly, especially with their currently impressive 8-3-2 record.

Let’s hope history works in the Sharks’ favor again tonight by starting off the comfortable home stretch with two points!


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