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Where: SAP Center at San Jose – San Jose, CA.
When: Friday, April 26, 10PM EST
How (TV/Radio): NBCSN, Sportsnet, CBC, TVAS | WFAN
Also take a look at our preview of the NHL playoff round two: New York Islanders vs Carolina Hurricanes.
The San Jose Sharks had one of the more well-rounded offensive games this season that saw a lot of contribution from their defensive core as well when it came to putting pucks in the net. The Sharks finished tied for second in goals for and ranked sixth in shots taken. This led them to have a 10.7 (good enough for fourth in the league) shooting percentage. Their powerplay was also ranked sixth in the league – managing a 23.7 success rate.
The Sharks went seven games in round one and the offense was hit or miss. The Sharks scored fewer goals than their opponents but their powerplay had a 23.5 percent success rate – almost identical to their regular season rate. They averaged 33.1 shots per game in round one but had poor play when it came to winning faceoffs and overall puck possession.
It should be noted that Sharks captain Joe Pavelski has been ruled out of game one against the Colorado Avalanche after suffering a head injury in game seven of their first-round series against the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Colorado Avalanche managed to stay up towards the top-10 by seasons end when it comes to offensive statistics. The Avs had the tenth most goals and the 11th most shots on net. This left them with a 12th-overall shooting percentage. Their powerplay ranked only one spot below the Sharks (seventh) with a 22 percent success rate. Their only downfall came in the faceoff circle (again, just like their opponents). The Avalanche finished the regular season ranked 26th in faceoff wins.
During their five first-round games, the Avalanche had mixed numbers. The team outscored their opponents 17-11 and averaged 3.40 goals per game but their powerplay only had 20 percent success and their faceoff win percentage was only 40.7 – the worst percentage through the first round.
For a team that boasts Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic on the backend, the San Jose Sharks werent without their struggles in the regular season. The Sharks finished their regular season allowing the second-fewest shots against in the league and yet they allowed the 21st most amount of goals against. They also had the 15th ranked penalty kill and took the 25th most penalties in the league.
Those struggles carried into the playoffs, as well as the Sharks, allowed more goals than they score (23 scored to 25 against). Their penalty killing also took some big hits as they had the third-worst penalty killing percentage throughout round one with a 72.4 percent success rate. They also allowed more shots than they took and were under 50 percent in the faceoff circle.
If the Sharks regular season defensive statistics seemed bad, the Avalanche had it even worse. They finished their year allowing the 16th most goals against and the 20th most shots against. They took more penalties than San Jose, ranking 28th in that stat, and their penalty kill finished at 25th worst in the league.
And it continued. Although Colorado found a way to oust the Calgary Flames in five games in round one, the numbers dont necessarily reflect their success. They allowed 11 goals in five games, allowed an average of 32 shots per game, and only managed 40.7 percent success rate in the faceoff circle. Their puck possession game was off and their penalty kill on worked 77.3 percent of the time.
Sharks goaltender Martin Jones finished his regular season campaign with a 36-19-5 record. His goals against average over his 62 games played was 2.94 and his save percentage was .896. He had three shutouts.
Jones was a little inconsistent during the teams first-round series against the Vegas Golden Knights, but he finished strong with a 58-save performance in game six to force game seven. His goals against average for the seven-game series was 3.20 and his save percentage was .904. He played 375 minutes and also collected one assist.
A lot of credit needs to go to Colorado goalie Philipp Grubauer for his performance during Colorados late-season push into the playoffs. Grubauer went 18-9-5 this season with a goals against average of 2.64 and a save percentage of .917. He had three shutouts and went 7-1-2 in the last ten games of the season.
Grubauer played all five first-round games against the Calgary Flames – playing only 317 minutes. His goals against average for the first round was 1.90 and his save percentage was .939.
After missing much of the late season due to injury, defenseman Erik Karlsson picked up where he left off and led in playoff scoring for the San Jose Sharks. Karlsson had nine assists – three of which came on the powerplay. He averaged just over 27 minutes per game in round one.
Forward Mikko Rantanen finished round one of the playoffs as Colorados leading scorer. Rantanen registered five goals and four assists and ended the series as a plus-3. He had two powerplay goals, three powerplay points, two game-winning goals, and had a points-per-game average of 1.80. Rantanen took 21 shots on net giving him a 23.8 shooting percentage for round one.
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Ryan Bristlon is a Canadian writer currently residing in Hamilton, Ontario. He studied print and broadcast journalism at Humber College and has been a lifelong fan of the sport of hockey and the NHL.
Email: [email protected]More info on Ryan Bristlon
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