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What Went Wrong: The San Jose Sharks

05/29/13
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This is a continuing series that will explore why the various teams that fall by the wayside did exactly that.

Remember this guy Sabres Fans?

Much will be made of the Sharks labeled as chokers, but here are the facts after eleven playoff games:

  1. Joe Pavelski – 4g, 8a, 12 pts
  2. Logan Couture – 5g, 6a, 11 pts
  3. Joe Thornton – 2g, 8a, 10 pts
  4. Patrick Marleau – 5g, 3a, 8 pts
  5. Dan Boyle – 3g, 5a, 8 pts

Those are, just so we’re clear, the Sharks’ top five scorers.  Not only are the Sharks big guns not chokers (nor have they ever been), but they almost single-handedly carried the team to the conference finals despite a complete absence of bottom six scoring.  And I don’t mean that hyperbolically, only 6 Sharks forwards scored any goals in the playoffs at all (Raffi Torres and T.J. Galiardi being the other two).  This was a problem that haunted the Sharks all season long, whether it was Torres, or Ryan Clowe, or really anyone skating on the bottom two lines.

The other part of the problem is the Kings’ money players, those being Quick, Brown, Carter, Richards, Kopitar, and Voynov were just a little bit better than the likes of Niemi, Marleau, Thornton, Pavelski, Couture, and Boyle.  The Sharks largely outplayed the Kings this series, and especially in games 1-4 and 6, but the Sharks weren’t superior enough to not get burned by the Kings ability to better convert their opportunities.  The Sharks put more shots on goal (205-173), blocked more shots (123-105), missed fewer shots (97-101), directed more shots on net (407-397), had fewer PIM (44-56), and won more faceoffs (242-194), but the Kings superior skill once again made Quick look like an unbeatable superstar, their special teams (5/20 to the Sharks’ 4/26 on the pp) clicked, and Slava Voynov happened.

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