Saturday, November 04, 2006

Game #11 - at San Jose Sharks

Pittsburgh Penguins (7-3-0, 14 pts) at San Jose Sharks (9-5-0, 18 pts)

The Penguins picked a bad time to come into San Jose. The Sharks are likely an unhappy team after being beaten for just the second time this year at home by the New York Rangers on Thursday night. They're probably looking for someone to take out their frustrations on, and they'll have a target in the Penguins.

The Pens have won 5 in a row, including two in OT, and have a share of first place in the Atlantic. As a point of comparison, the Sharks have 18 points (4 more than the Pens) and are 6 points out of first place and four points out of second place. The Atlantic division is pretty weak so far this year.

The Sharks are an interesting team, in that they've scored over 50% of their goals on the power play (22 out of 43). They've allowed only 9 out of 32 total goals on the penalty kill. This means that at even strength, they're being outscored on the year. Conversely, the Pens have scored only 13 of 37 with the man-advantage, and allowed 10 of 27 when on the PK.

What does this mean? It means I didn't get enough sleep last night!

Seriously, it means that the key to the game for the Pens is to keep the Sharks off of the power play, and be ferocious about killing the penalties they do take. The Sharks are 1-3 in their last four games that they score one or fewer power play goals.

For the Pens, I'm still hoping for the first goal of the year from Colby Armstrong. It would be a tremendous boost to help the team keep the momentum for him to get going a little bit. Malkin and Crosby aren't going to be able to produce every single night, and the Pens will need some viable candidates to step up.

Fleury will be in net tonight, with Toskala likely in net for the Sharks (they rotate him with Nabokov every other game). Toskala is the better of the two San Jose goalies this year so far. Lucky us.

This would be a tremendous road win for the Penguins, who still (somehow) have not lost on the road this year. You'd figure that they would probably lose sometime on the West Coast trip... let's hope they keep procrastinating with that likelihood.

Let's Go Pens!

1 comment:

Will said...

Living in the Bay area I get to see the Sharks a lot and I'm a little worried too. I have watched most of their games and I think you're right on Pat, stop the PP and the
Pens have a chance for the win.

The Sharks not only lost to the Rangers but kind of got man handled so I assume they are going to be looking for blood tonight.

Intersting note is that all week there have been more ads for the Pens game than any I have ever seen outside the playoffs in the Bay. It should make for a great atmosphere in the tank. I have not seen the Pens for almost 3 years (I think that's the last time they played San Jose) so I can't wait to watch them live!