The San Jose Sharks defeated the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 in game four of the series to complete the sweep. They will take on the Golden Knights in round two. The Sharks advance on the back of a great all-around team series where they got production from all of their core players.
San Jose had complete control of the series from the opening drop of the puck in game one. Anaheim was held to only one lead throughout the entire series. That lead only lasted nine minutes before the Sharks answered with points of their own. The defense of San Jose kept the Ducks offense in check, and goaltender Martin Jones played a significant factor into that.
Every year in the postseason there is a goalie that gets hot and shuts a team down. This postseason that goalie was Martin Jones. In four games Jones’ goals against average was an even one goal allowed per game and had a save percentage of .970.
Jones only allowed more than one goal one time throughout the entire series and even was able to post a shutout; something he did only four times throughout the whole regular season. Martin’s play stopped the Anaheim Ducks from grabbing any momentum throughout the entire series and allowed the Sharks offense to play loose and free.
Playing The Knights
Going into round two Jones will be going up against a goaltender that is even hotter than he is in Marc-Andre Fleury. This matchup will be arguably the most entertaining one to watch in round two.
Expect the same story from this series. Low scoring games and lots of physical play. The only difference is, both teams are most likely looking at a series going longer than just four games.
Both teams match up fairly evenly with each other. The Sharks are more star-powered, but the Golden Knights are very fundamentally sound.
In four games against Vegas, this season the Sharks are 1-2-1, but only one game was decided by more than one goal, and two of the games went to overtime. The deciding factor in those four games was the Golden Knights special teams. In the Knights three wins against San Jose, they recorded three powerplay goals and one shorthanded goal. Look for the Sharks to try and fix these issues for their upcoming series.
Game Breaker: Evander Kane
At the trade deadline, the San Jose Sharks acquired Evander Kane from the Buffalo Sabres, and he made a tremendous impact in the Sharks first series versus Anaheim.
In game one Kane opened the series scoring with two goals within six minutes of each other. Those two goals helped propel the Sharks to a 3-0 win allowing them to flip the home-ice advantage in their favor.
In game three Kane was able to get one goal, and an assist that helped San Jose take down the Ducks 8-1 in what was most likely the end of the Ducks hopes at a series win.
Evander’s strong series is precisely why the Sharks acquired him for their playoff push. The Kings struggled mightily against the Golden Knights defense. San Jose is hoping that Evander Kane can help crack the code of their defense.
If the Sharks can take-down the Golden Knights in round two, Kane is most likely going to need to put out a solid series.
How Far Can They Go?
The Sharks look like a very strong contender to be the Western Conference representative in the Stanley Cup. They play defense first, then offense and that is a proven winning formula in the playoffs. San Jose is also getting very elite goaltending. Something only one other team in the Western Conference is getting.
If the Sharks can get through the Golden Knights and the other conference teams keep beating up on each other. There is no reason why they can’t make another run at the cup. The experience is there, but they have to make it happen.
Featured image by: World News Insider
“From Our Haus to Yours