There were a few negative comments about the San Jose Sharks after their Game One loss to Colorado.  The Sharks certainly have a reputation for playoff failure, a reputation exacerbated by the exceedingly high expectations put on their shoulders by pundits, who have been predicting Stanley Cups for years (although there’s been a major drop-off in that sort of talk the last two seasons).

The Sharks are now knotted up in a 2-2 series after winning by a single goal last night, but that apparent parity with the underdog Avalanche doesn’t come close to telling the whole story. 

Since the first game, the Avalanche haven’t kept the Sharks to fewer than 45 shots.  Games Two and Three were particularly interesting; both teams escaped with a single one-goal win, but the Sharks outshot Colorado 103-39.  Among playoff teams, nobody is firing the puck at the net as often as the Sharks, who are averaging 43.5 shots per game.  In contrast, among playoff teams only the Senators are averaging fewer shots on net than Colorado’s 25.8 per game.

To date, goaltending’s been the difference.  Nabokov hasn’t been bad, but Craig Anderson has been stellar.  On Hockey Night In Canada last night, analyst Kelly Hrudey compared his aggressive style to that of Islanders goaltender Dwayne Roloson.  As it stands, Anderson has been every bit as good as Roloson was against Detroit in 2006, and it’s incredibly difficult to make much headway when the opposition goaltender is putting in a performance like that.

Regardless, there may be a temptation to suggest that San Jose is underachieving.  They aren’t; they’ve been dominant, and have had the misfortune to run into a brick wall in net.  If Colorado manages the upset, it will be because of Anderson’s incredible performance.

Comments (8)

  1. If anyone disagrees with this there is something wrong with them. Anderson is playing otherworldly its phenominal ever game I have watched keeps me wonder how does he have more left in the tank? I thought for sure he was burnt out but the more people that said that the better the more he seems to raise his game. He’s hot at the right time for the Av’s but they need to start giving him some support but the longer this series goes I think the Sharks will have more of an advantage because percentages say these shots will start going in and probaly sooner rather then later.

  2. I would debate whether or not SanJose is actually dominating.

    Sure they are leading in shots and territorial advantage but the quality of shots is poor and the power play advantage can explain some of that imbalance (SJ- 9 pp opportunities to 4 for COL and 10 more minutes of total ice time with the man advantage).

    SanJose is also missing on a lot of shots(and getting a lot of their shots blocked-52.6% of SJ’s shot attempts hit the net, 57.2% of Colorado shots require a save) whereas Colorado leads in most of the efficiency categories (PK/PP%,S%,Sh%),further suggesting to me that whereas SJ leads in quantity; Colorado is leading in quality.

    SanJose is the manic bull,charging with his head down,throwing mad flurries from all angles (ala Joe Frazier) and Colorado is the masterful counter puncher; picking his spots and conserving energy (ala Muhammed Ali).

    The optics of activity make it seem like SanJose is dominating but the series record (2-2) suggests to me that this series is a saw off.

    Now; if Colorado can get the refs to look past the optical illusion (as refs still call the game based on flow) and give em a break (some of the calls/non-calls have been ridiculously one sided for SJ) then, I think Colorado will take this one down.

    If not,then I agree that it should only be a matter of time before SanJose dispatches them to the golf courses. A missed holding the stick call last night could have/should have put the AV’s in the driver’s seat. At the very least, I would say that the Colorado Avalanche ain’t too shabby.

  3. Sure they are leading in shots and territorial advantage but the quality of shots is poor and the power play advantage can explain some of that imbalance (SJ- 9 pp opportunities to 4 for COL and 10 more minutes of total ice time with the man advantage).

    Wrong, again! On every count!

    http://www.coppernblue.com/ has been recording scoring chances for COL vs. SJ.

    San Jose has dominated scoring chances between the two teams, it’s not close.

    Think before you speak. Or don’t speak. Either’s fine with me.

  4. Now; if Colorado can get the refs to look past the optical illusion (as refs still call the game based on flow) and give em a break (some of the calls/non-calls have been ridiculously one sided for SJ) then, I think Colorado will take this one down.

    This is possibly the most ridiculous point.

    Generally speaking hockey penalties are taken without the puck. Generally speaking players play without the puck in their own zone.

    There’s nothing wrong with more penalties being called against players in the defensive zone, that’s kind of where thye happen.

  5. Wow. Offended much?
    #1 Just how is it that the PP opportunities being skewed at a 2:1 ratio not lead to more ‘chances’ for SanJose? And by chances, I’m not referring to that befudllelery I ran into when I followed your link. Missed shots count…point shots don’t. Ok, whatever.
    It’s just common sense that a team playing with a man advantage will have more chances to shoot than the team that is down a man. The point was,that advantage will lead to some skewing of the shot totals. Comprehend much dude? SHOT TOTALS. Try reading before you speak.
    The idea of scoring chances is an interesting one but shouldn’t be applied wholesale to every situation. ie-A point shot from a guy like Boyle IS a better scoring chance than a slot shot from Kyle Wellwood. The one size fits all treatment has obvious problems when applied to athletic contests.
    What I see from actually watching the games (as opposed to reading about someone watching the games and then taking their analysis as gospel) is as I stated. One team is attacking,the other is in a shell waiting to counter attack (how many odd man rushes does SanJose have). Most of SanJose’s shots are coming from the point and in tight (loose change). Anderson is a big paddle style goalie so the loose change goals are going to be hard to come by as long as Foote and Hannan are keeping the crease clean.
    Much of Colorado’s offense comes from the counter attack and hard forechecking, lower shot totals but a better shooting % ( I guess efficiency doesn’t indicate anything to you but just to re-state COl has a higher PP%, PK%, SV% and SH%).
    As for where penalties generally come from, in my experience; people that talk in generalizations don’t know what they are talking about. Generally speaking that is.
    The point was, seeing as how the PP opportunities are skewed(whether or not they deserve to be is a fair discussion but the fact that they are skewed is beyond debate)…could it be that the Sharks volume of shots and territorial advantage is creating a situation where SanJose gets even more calls (and the Av’s get less) as the referees perceive one team to be relying on fouls in order to keep the opposition in check (that is flow based officiating and that is how NHL refs used to be trained to call)? I saw a few non calls that suggest that is occurring (I’m biased though, I prefer the Av’s to the Sharks). So,my point was that if this imbalance is reversed (ie Colorado gets more PP opportunities) then Colorado is going to win (because they are converting those opportunities at a higher %). Get it?
    I understand that a team hemmed into it’s own zone would be expected to take more penalties but there are numerous situations that can result in the attacking team being penalized (goalie interference, interference, hooking, tripping, high sticking). When you are dealing with a big,possession style team like SanJose, those types of offensive zone penalties would be more than possible; they should be expected.
    Because the series is tied at deuces; that more than anything suggests to me that the imbalance in play (as suggested by shots and t.o.p) is a product of the styles of play more than the quality of the strategy being implemented. Is that a ridiculous statement? The most important metrics in this argument are 2-2.
    Case closed,thanks for coming out; bring your brain with you next time and leave the bitch attitude at home.

  6. Noskillgill:

    I think it’s ludicrous to look at 2-2 and say the play has been even. I haven’t watched every minute of the series but I haven’t seen Colorado do a thing since Game 1 that makes me think they’re a fair match for the Sharks.

    The idea that the penalties are imbalanced is of course unprovable, though Occam’s Razor suggests that San Jose’s edge in play is the reason they’re getting more power play opportunities.

    Finally, is there any rational reason at all to believe that Colorado is twice as good at scoring goals on their shots as the Sharks are?

  7. @Noskillgill

    I cant believe you, penalties get taken when your tired and stuck in your own end more then anywhere else on the ice, anyone who has played the game knows that. When your tired you make dumb choices you wouldnt normally do. After all you said yourself “SanJose is the manic bull,charging with his head down,throwing mad flurries from all angles (ala Joe Frazier)” Let me break that one down for you just incase you are new to hockey , thats called forchecking and driving the net. Also there is a saying the worst shot in hockey is the one that you never took. So before you go off blasting how the ref’s are this and Colorado is better in everyway, Go pick up a stick and play some hockey and you will see.

  8. Try reading.I didn’t say the play was even. I didn’t blast the refs. The PP opportunities are skewed,if that changes then the series is going to Colorado. Shots are great,missed shots and blocked shots…not so much. SanJose has 174 total shots, 95 blocked and 62 that missed the net,Colorado has 103, 46 and 31. Craig Anderson is one reason why I wouldn’t be surprised to see Colorado finish this series with a better sh% than the Shark skaters.

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