Categories: Giveaways

The San Jose Sharks road trip begins with lessons about gifts

The San Jose Sharks have split the first two games of a four-game road trip, losing to the St. Louis Blues 5-3 on Thursday (November 10) before defeating the Dallas Stars 5-4 on Friday (November 11). In both games, the forecheck and changes in the offensive zone were essential factors. In the matchup with the Blues, the Sharks committed numerous turnovers that led to goals. The next night, they reversed the trend by forcing the key gifts to prevail over the stars. Below are the goals for each game that were created using the precheck and how they affected the results.

Sharks turnovers allow Blues to dominate Puck

The Blues snapped an eight-game losing streak at the hands of the Sharks thanks to five goals, and each of the last three of those goals can be explained to some extent by San Jose turning the puck over or not being able to get past it . the Saint Louis check.

Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In the first, the Sharks won a puck battle and Logan Couture ended the possession. But he made the ever-risky decision to send it into the middle of their defensive zone, where it eluded Kevin Labanc’s post. From there, the Blues regained control and made a couple of nice passes against a Sharks unit that struggled to get back on defense. It wasn’t long before Brandon Saad got a point-blank shot, which he drove home.

The mistakes that led to the second and third goals weren’t as glaring, but they still proved problematic in an area where the Sharks struggled all game. The second goal followed a sequence in which they had multiple opportunities to get the puck out of the St. Louis, but they didn’t, while the third goal came on a Tomas Hertl giveaway that led to a free run to a gap. clean finish

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The problem wasn’t just that these mistakes led to goals. With a total of 10 frees, the Sharks spent much of their time trying to get out of the defensive zone, but the Blues kept the puck and created turnovers time and time again. As a result, the Sharks were forced to play much less aggressively than they probably would have liked. Although they were only outscored by three, the shot advantage could easily have been in San Jose’s favor if they had just had a few more successful clearances.

After the game, it was clear that something needed to change in that facet of the game for the Sharks to have a chance in their next game against a favored Stars team. Fortunately for San Jose, that’s exactly what happened.

Sharks force numbers to capitalize on Win Over Stars

In a game where the Sharks scored as many goals as they allowed in the previous game, perhaps it’s fitting that they did to their opponents what they did to them the night before. They repeatedly took advantage of the Stars’ sloppy play to get many of their best scoring opportunities, including three of their five goals.

A first period goal by Evgeny Svechnikov served as the best demonstration of this trend. After a lazy pass by the Stars led to a loose puck, Steven Lorentz won the race and threw it into the Sharks’ offensive zone. Oskar Lindblom and Svechnikov sensed an opportunity and showed great hustle, allowing Lindblom to set up Svechnikov for an easy tap-in.

Each of the other two goals also came as a result of Dallas turnovers, and while the Stars did an incredibly poor job of puck management, the Sharks deserve credit as well. On both plays, they could have easily opted to drop back and play a more conservative defensive approach. Instead, they chose to be aggressive and rattled the Stars enough to force turnovers. Also, on both occasions, once they regained possession of the puck, they made smart decisions as crisp passing allowed scorers Couture and Timo Meier to get great looks.

Those sequences were indicative of how the Sharks created much of their offense in the game. Although they didn’t have many scoring opportunities, the ones they did have were efficient and at a high percentage. Almost every time they forced a turnover, they used it to create a great scoring opportunity, which explains how they managed to score five goals despite recording just 18 shots on net. And it certainly didn’t hurt that, after a game of 10 gifts in St. Louis, they only had two giveaways against the Stars.

The Sharks’ ability to completely change one aspect of the game in just 24 hours is a positive step for a team that has struggled of late. Now, they’ll have to keep it up to maintain the momentum they’ve built.


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