The month of January was a remarkable one. Despite beginning with overwhelming uncertainty still clouding the possibility of an NHL season, it ended with the Sharks sporting a flawless 7-0-0 record as the final undefeated team standing in the league. When San Jose hosted Chicago on February 5th, despite having dropped two in a row at that point, it felt like a legitimate collision of conference heavyweights. While they went on to lose an enthralling contest highlighted by the clubs trading three goals apiece in the first period, an argument that the Sharks were the better team that night wouldn't have been without merit.
No one can make that argument about Friday night's rematch between the Sharks and Blackhawks. San Jose was dominated for extended stretches of that contest, their seventh consecutive loss in a winless February. It's been the best of months and the worst of months for the Sharks so far in 2013. So how does a team go from kicking ass to being on the receiving end? What makes a team turn awful? Lust for gold? Power? Or were they just born with hearts full of disappointment? In an attempt to answer that question, here's a look at how the January Sharks stack up against the February Sharks in a variety of statistical categories including shot, goal and scoring chance rate for and against, possession numbers in situations where the score was close and PDO (the summation of shooting and save percentage). First up, the even-strength numbers:
Segment SF/60 SH% GF/60 SA/60 SV% GA/60 PDO FenClose% Chances For/60 Chances Against/60 Chance%
Games 1-7 28.2 9.8% 2.76 28.4 0.954 1.30 1052 51.5% 13.5 13.8 49.3%
Games 8-14 29.0 3.6% 1.05 31.1 0.893 3.32 929 54.0% 13.1 13.5 49.3%
As far as the underlying numbers go, the Sharks have surprisingly been better at controlling play with the score close over their seven-game losing streak than they were during their 7-0-0 run. They've been a bit worse at turning that advantage in possession into similar advantages in shots and scoring chances, as their chance ratio has remained unchanged and their proportion of shots has actually declined despite the fact that they've had the puck more in this stretch.
What changed?: Examining the Sharks' schizophrenic season
Fear The Fin | Feb 19