The Sharks got their second consecutive road win last night against the Edmonton Oilers, and with the exception of the first few minutes of the game, they completely dominated their inferior opponent.
Things started of looking good for the Sharkies as they were awarded with a power play only a few minutes into the game. It did not, however, take long for the joy of the power play to turn to frustration because see… there was a turnover and that turnover led to a short handed goal by one of the Oilers. I cannot remember the guys name, but I do remember that the shorty was this guy’s second goal of the season (both of them scored while short handed).
This turnover while on the power play that led the to the bad guys scoring is indicative of what I was talking about in the previous post–the Sharks really have to focus on not making silly mistakes and controlling the puck, both when it is on their sticks as well as when they are moving it. Six games into the season, the Sharks have allowed at least three shorthanded goals, but I think that number is actually four or five. This is unacceptable, especially if the Sharks hope to make it all the way through the playoffs and hoist the Stanley Cup.
It is true that last night the Sharks were able to minimize mistakes (after allowing the shorty–the third one allowed in four games or something like that, I haven’t been able to find the stats, but I did find this, which mentions short handed goals allowed by the Sharks), and it is also true that they made some strides in the team defense arena and played an all around excellent game. The problem, of course, is that they played an excellent game against a terrible team. Edmonton gave the Sharks 5 power play opportunities, and Los Tiberones capitalized on 3 of them. Edmonton, on the other hand, was unable to score a power play goal, though the Sharks gave them 5 opportunities on the PP (but the Oilers only managed to get off four shots).
My point is that I am glad the Sharks won, and this game should give them some confidence–plus they scored three even strength goals–an area that has been of some concern so far in the early goings of the season–but they are going to have to play better and smarter if they want to be successful this season. Edmonton is a professional hockey team, but they are hardly a challenge, and it would have been terrible if the Sharks were unable to beat them. However, they did beat them, by a score of 6-1, but come on, it’s Edmonton, anything other than a victory would have been unacceptable.
Niittymaki played another strong game, saving 21 of 22 shots. At times he looked a little shaky while handling the puck, but thankfully there were no mishandles like the one the other night that led to an easy goal.
The Sharks play Calgary tonight, which I think will be a much more challenging game than the one against Edmonton. Sure, Calgary is not as good as they used to be, but they have always given the Sharks trouble, and I have no doubt that they will continue to do so, but I also have no doubt that Sharks will be able to overcome the adversity and go home with the win, especially if they play smart and don’t allow any more short handed goals.
Oh, and one final thing–Joe Pavelski finished the night with three points–1 goal and two assists, and Joe Thornton finished with 3 assists. Keep it up boys.