Sharks’ win streak has unlikely NHL playoffs spot in striking distance

Sharks’ Martin Jones makes initially nothing of season over Kings

Sharks’ win streak has not likely playoff area within reach initially appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Sharks have not been this near a playoff area in over a month.

Thanks to San Jose’s 3-0 win over the competing Los Angeles Kings on Friday night at Staples Center, the Sharks (16-16-4; 36 points) are 3 points back of the West Department’s 4th and last postseason berth for the very first time given that Feb. 23. They likewise have a video game in hand on the fourth-place Arizona Coyotes (17-15-5), with 2 matches staying in April and another set in May to liquidate the routine season.

A lot can alter in between now and May 8, as evidenced by the Sharks falling as numerous as 11 points back of the department’s last playoff area throughout the preceding 37 days. In the meantime, a minimum of, San Jose remains in the postseason hunt.

“It’s great,” goaltender Martin Jones stated in a postgame video conference, soon after stopping all 30 shots he dealt with Friday. “We put ourselves behind the eight-ball a little bit, but the way we’ve been playing, we could go on a little bit of a run here and see where we’re at in a couple of weeks.”

The Sharks have actually now won 3 video games in a row, and 5 of their last 7. They’re likewise 9-7-2 going back to the start of March. Jones is 7-2-2 with a .929 save portion over that period, and he got his very first nothing of the season Friday. In 12 starts in January and February, Jones was 6-5-1 with an .877 save portion.

Jones has actually provided the Sharks the goaltending they require to make a standings push, and the depth that’s vital to sustaining it is beginning to emerge. Thanks to Rudolfs Balcers’ return from an upper-body injury previously today, the Sharks have a reliable 2nd line once again.

Balcers, Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier formed a strong trio in February, prior to Hertl’s stint on the COVID-19 list. Coach Bob Boughner re-united the line in the Sharks’ win Monday over the Minnesota Wild, and San Jose has actually profited. In 38:04 of 5-on-5 ice time in the last 3 video games, the trio has a 59.04 corsi-for portion, 67.79 anticipated goals-for portion and 70.59 percent high-danger chances-for portion, according to Natural Stat Technique.

The Kings had no response for the Sharks’ 2nd line Friday, and none for Meier, specifically. He broke a 10-game goal-scoring dry spell with a second-period snipe, pumping a team-leading 8 shots on objective. Meier likewise led the Sharks in shot efforts (12) and scoring opportunities (7), per Natural Stat Technique.

“Tonight, honestly, he had eight shots on net, I think — he could’ve had three or four [goals] tonight,” Boughner stated of Meier. “I thought that he was a threat every time he got on the ice. I think games like that will help him with his confidence. … From what we see tonight, if he’s playing that way and he’s that confident, he can be dangerous. It was good to see.”

A lot of seriously for the Sharks, they have an ideal storm at their backs. Throughout a condensed, 56-game season in which just 14 groups have actually won (a minimum of) as numerous video games as they have actually lost, San Jose has actually stayed in striking range.

The department has actually played out basically as anticipated, with 2 well-defined favorites (the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights), an apparent third-best group (the Kirill Kaprizov-led Minnesota Wild, instead of the apparently sundowning St. Louis Blues) and everyone else going for 4th.

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The Sharks are ideal because mix, and they have a chance to separate themselves ahead of the April 12 trade due date. San Jose’s next 4 video games are all versus LA and the Anaheim Ducks, and the Sharks are a combined 8-1-1 versus their Southern California competitors.

They’re likewise simply a combined 8-15-3 versus the remainder of the department, raising severe doubts about the Sharks’ capability to hang on to stated area beyond the due date, when their schedule versus the Kings and Ducks is all however concluded. Plus, throughout a season that basic supervisor Doug Wilson has actually called a “reset,” it’s reasonable to ask if San Jose would be much better off with a lottery game choice than an uphill struggle in the preliminary of the playoffs versus Colorado or Vegas.

Those concerns can wait a minimum of another day, when the Sharks will deal with the Kings once again at Staples Center. In the meantime, Jones and Co. are simply taking pleasure in the trip.

“Winning’s gonna do that,” Jones stated in an interview with tv broadcasters Randy Hahn and Bret Hedican. “It’s great. The boys are having fun. We’re playing well together, so hopefully we can keep it rolling.”

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.