Sunday, November 27, 2005

San Jose Will Have A Good Second Half

Before this season, I predicted the San Jose Sharks would win the West Conference. So far this season, that prediction has been a poor one. San Jose is currently 8-15 (with four of their losses coming in overtime) for twenty points. This puts them in 12th place in the West Conference well out of the playoffs. So far, things have not gone well.

Taking a closer look, it is clear that San Jose has had a very good defence. They have allowed the least shots per game so far this season (24.9) but that has not translated to a low goals against. Their 3.30 goals against average is 19th in the NHL. This is largely because of poor goaltending. Both of their goalies Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala (who have proven themselves to be very reliable goalies in the past) have struggled through injury problems. They have some of the worst save percentages in the NHL. Nabokov has a .865 save percentage and Toskala a .815 one. There is no doubt that if these goalies get healthy, their play will significantly improve. When this happens, San Jose will have one of the best goals against records in the league. The San Jose offence, though not league leading, has enough firepower in Patrik Marleau, Marco Sturm and Jonathan Cheechoo to be a very hard to beat team if they are not allowing goals. This got them to the 2004 semifinals. This will make them a very dangerous team in the second half of this NHL season when their goaltending returns.

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