San Jose Sharks off to a good second half start

Ben Conroy,

It’s almost the halfway point of the season and the San Jose Sharks are 30-18-8, which puts them in playoff position. But all of that can change in an instant.

The Sharks’ first half of the season was a series of ups and downs. The good news is with the start of the second half of the season, the Sharks seem to be off to a great start. They won four of their first seven games and currently sit in second place in the NHL Pacific Division.

Their secondary scoring started to help out a lot more than usual. Mikkel Boedker, Chris Tierney and Joonas Donskoi have stepped up their game to help out with scoring. This takes the pressure off of the Sharks big name players such as Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and Logan Couture.

This explosion of secondary scoring has been a great relief to see, as the Sharks have had trouble with this in the past. The chemistry of the Tierney line has grown and continued to thrive in the last couple of games. When a team’s top players are being shut down, it falls on the role players to bring some added scoring and take pressure off of the top players.

The Sharks special teams power play is starting to click again and is currently at 22.75 percent and fifth in the league, while the team’s penalty kill is at 83.44 percent and also fifth in the league. If San Jose wants to go on any kind of run this year in the playoffs these numbers need to stay where they are or better. Special teams in hockey are a huge part of team success.

However, the team has struggled with consistency of play, letting their younger players get more experience in the league and staying healthy.

The Sharks need to continue to let their young players get experience in the league. Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc are starting to look better every game they play. Meier and Labanc have been interchangeable on the top two lines throughout the season. Recently it has been Meier with Thornton and Pavelski while Labanc played with Couture and Tomas Hertl. Dylan DeMello, Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan on defense have also done well when called upon in big moments this season.

Consistency of play is another area San Jose needs to work on. The question of which team are we going to get tonight still comes up too much. Like all professional sports, the season is long, hard and can take its toll mentally and physically on players. Some lapse in play is expected, but the more consistent the Sharks are with their game play now, the better they will be in the postseason.

Health is always a concern for every team. The injury to Thornton against the Winnipeg Jets could be a big blow to the Sharks offense and leadership on the ice. Thornton will be out several weeks with a MCL injury.

The San Jose Sharks started off hot in the second half of the season beating division rivals Coyotes twice and Kings, as well as the Jets and Penguins. Their only losses so far is to the Jets, Rangers and the Avalanche.

If the Sharks continue this kind of play while becoming more consistent, another deep playoff run will be in their future. Their next game is tonight night at 7:30 p.m. against the Vancouver Canucks.