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San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks Continue To Dispense With The Competition

sharksfan After that grueling second round series during last season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, nothing makes me happier than a little pay back against the Dallas Stars. The San Jose Sharks did just that albeit against the worst team in the NHL (I didn’t know just how bad it was in Dallas until tonight). The Sharks’ 6-2 win was not against the same team we played during last year’s playoffs - this Dallas team is not very good.

But a win is a win and the Sharks’ 19-3-1 record continues to raise eyebrows throughout the league. The NHL Home Ice guys were completely blown away by the numbers put up by the Sharks defensive corps, most notably that three of the Sharks players are in the top four for NHL scoring defensemen (Rob Blake, Christian Ehrhoff and Dan Boyle). If he keeps it up, Rob Blake is on pace to have one of the best seasons of his career. The Sharks blue line has not only proven to be extremely productive but it does so in a very dynamic way. Sometimes it’s Blake shooting from the blue line while other times it Boyle crashing the net. The opposition not only has to account for the defensemen but has to defend them differently. Also contributing to the Sharks’ continued success is their improved special teams play. After a mediocre start, the Sharks’ special teams have slowly improved with a power play now ranked 4th in the league and a penalty kill ranked 8th.

To keep it all in perspective, although the Sharks 19-3-1 record and 39 points leads the league, the Detroit Red Wings also have only 3 regulation losses and their league leading power play (32.3%) is far ahead of the rest of the league (23.6% St. Louis Blues, 23.2% Boston Bruins and 22.8% Sharks). The Sharks, who are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games, are not the only hot teams in the NHL. Detroit (7-1-2), Boston (8-1-1), the Vancouver Canucks (7-1-2) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (7-2-1) are all also riding high on their recent performances.

The Sharks are in elite company early in this campaign and people are taking notice - XM Radio, ESPN and TSN seem to have changed their tune about this team. Although always considered one of the NHL’s premier teams, the conversation about how the Sharks, no matter how good they are in the regular season, always disappoint in the post season has taken a back seat to the discussion of just how improved the team has become.

Payback against the Phoenix Coyotes is next (they’re one of the ‘3′ in 19-3-1), but after that Ron Wilson returns to the Tank as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. We’re curious to see how the players perform, particularly those who played for Ron Wilson. If Ron Wilson wore out his welcome in San Jose because of his egotistical coaching style I can’t wait to see what message the players send to the other bench.

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