San Jose Sharks at Ottawa Senators Preview: A mid-off in Canada & More Trending News


The San Jose Sharks (8-14-4, seventh Pacific) will tackle the Ottawa Senators (9-13-1, eighth Atlantic) to wrap up the Canadian a part of this four-game highway journey. These two groups met for the primary time this season practically two weeks in the past, when the Senators got here to San Jose. The Sharks earned simply the second dwelling win of the season in that match-up, however since then neither staff has been all that scorching. The Senators have gone 3-2-0, together with additional time wins in opposition to each the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers. The Sharks are 3-1-1 in that point, with a 4-5-1 report during the last 10 video games.

The Senators line-up will not be all that totally different from the final time these two groups met. Sharks draftee Josh Norris continues to be out with a shoulder damage and Jacob Bernard-Docker can also be nonetheless on injured reserve. Pending restricted free agent ahead Alex Formenton didn’t signal with the staff forward of Thursday’s deadline and is now ineligible to play for the rest of the season, per the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Forward Tim Stutzle has tallied 5 factors (2 targets, 3 assists) in the Senators’ final 5 video games, making him some of the essential gamers to be looking out for. Captain Brady Tkachuk, Stutzle and Claude Giroux lead the staff in factors as probably the most harmful ahead line on this Sens staff. Surprisingly, this line has notched seven targets, whereas the protection pairing of Jake Sanderson and Travis Hamonic has netted 13. The D-pairing additionally spends probably the most time on the ice collectively, with 267.1 minutes, nearly 100 minutes greater than the following defensive pair of Thomas Chabot and Artyom Zub.

Having received the primary recreation in this season sequence and the overall struggles of Ottawa, San Jose may need some momentum they will use to their benefit in this match-up. If they play their playing cards proper, they need to lastly be capable of beat an opponent twice.

Can the Sharks capitalize on their opponent’s back-to-back video games?

Not solely is Ottawa taking part in in a back-to-back state of affairs, however the staff will even should journey. Sure, that flight from New York may solely be one and a half hours, however this Senators staff shall be drained. If the Sharks need to lastly beat the identical staff twice this season, they’ll have to capitalize on their further relaxation. San Jose will be fast on their toes, and maintaining the velocity in play will solely assist in opposition to a staff that’s on the second leg of back-to-back play.

The recreation in opposition to the Rangers ended with 18 seconds remaining in additional time, and would have been a loss in regulation, if not for a aim from Brady Tkachuk in the ultimate minute of play. Ottawa has been run ragged forward of this recreation.

While the Senators are one of many uncommon groups with fewer factors than the Sharks, each recreation is a vital recreation when wins are few and much between. If the Sharks are in a position to play their recreation, they need to be in a great spot. However, if they provide Ottawa the time to get better and regroup, this recreation shall be rather a lot nearer than the final one.

How will Hertl bounce again?

While his teammates and followers largely disagree, Tomas Hertl blamed himself for the Sharks’ loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday evening. “It’s all on me,” Hertl mentioned. “I cost us two points because I made a stupid play.”

Sure, he might have made the turnover that led to the game-winning aim, however that doesn’t imply the loss was fully his fault. Forward Matt Nieto mentioned as a lot level clean: “The loss isn’t on him. He’s won us many games here. He’s a great leader and a role model for everyone in the room.”

Hertl is a key a part of the roster and has recorded a degree in all however two of the staff’s wins this season. He’s additionally tied for second on the staff in factors with Logan Couture and Timo Meier, and is second behind Meier in time on ice per recreation among the many staff’s forwards. Hertl’s success is a big a part of the Sharks’ success, and the way in which he responds to the Wednesday evening loss will definitely impression the sport in opposition to Ottawa. If he steps up and decides to get these factors again, the Sharks are certain to observe. Everyone is aware of Hertl is a frontrunner, and main this staff to a win after a tricky loss will simply solidify what’s already recognized.

Can Kahkonen get better?

It’s probably not information that followers are annoyed with Kaapo Kahkonen’s efficiency this season. The Sharks haven’t been nice about protection, however Kahkonen’s numbers are worse. In 10 video games this season, Kahkonen has posted a 3.43 targets in opposition to common (GAA) and .844 save share (SV%). In 11 video games with San Jose final season, the younger netminder fared higher, with a 2.86 GAA and .916 SV%.

Kahkonen recorded his first shutout of the season on Tuesday evening in Montreal, stopping all 28 pictures that got here his method, however previous to that, he’d solely performed two video games with a save share above .900.

At the top of the 2021-22 season, the Sharks had three goaltenders, and it was well-known that one could be traded through the low season. Adin Hill was the odd goaltender out, tendered and traded to the Vegas Golden Knights in August in alternate for a fourth-round choose in the 2024 NHL Draft. Hill had a few of his personal points final season, each in phrases of damage and play, however he appears to be doing alright in Vegas, which simply makes the choice extra irritating for followers.

As they are saying, hindsight is 20/20 and clearly nothing will be modified in regards to the previous, however there’s lots of room for enchancment in the longer term. With James Reimer out, Kahkonen has to turn into the primary man in web. How he rises to the problem will imply rather a lot to the staff and followers.

Despite having a number of actually good video games and actually good saves, he, very like the Sharks staff, hasn’t been in a position to string collectively a number of good outings in a row. Reimer’s time on the IR is the right time for him to take action and present that Mike Grier made the fitting selection in preserving him round.

In November, Kahkonen allowed only one aim in the sport in opposition to Ottawa, regardless of the Senators placing up 38 pictures on web. Following up a shutout with one other good recreation will solely assist him out going ahead.

Bold Prediction: The Senators rating first, however the Sharks lock it down and win 3-1. Tomas Hertl data three factors and Kaapo Kahkonen is the second star of the sport.

San Jose Sharks at Ottawa Senators Preview: A mid-off in Canada

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San Jose Sharks at Ottawa Senators Preview: A mid-off in Canada

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San Jose Sharks at Ottawa Senators Preview: A mid-off in Canada

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