Tonight on the ice, a pair of teams from the Pacific Division will square off in the 2nd round of the NHL playoffs as the San Jose Sharks duke it out with the Vegas Golden Knights in game one of their best-of-seven series from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Sharks swept the Ducks in four games to get here, while the Golden Knights swept took out the Kings in four straight to get here. Goalie Probables: Getting the nod for the Sharks will be Martin Jones and he will be opposed by Marc-Andre Fleury.
Sharks Take Four Straight From The Ducks
The San Jose Sharks came into the postseason having lost five of their final games of the regular season so they were not coming in with much momentum. Well, they shook off their late-season slump by taking out the Anaheim Ducks in four straight games to move on to the 2nd round. The Sharks outscored the Ducks 16-4 in the four games, so they now have some momentum, but they will also be playing a team that won their opening series in four straight games. The Sharks won the final game of that series by a score of 2-1 and scoring for them in the win was Marcus Sorensen, which was his 3rd of the series and 8th of the year and Tomas Hertl, who scored the game-winner at the 9:09 mark of the 3rd period. He had three goals in that series and now has 25 on the year. The Sharks have gone 22-21 on the road for the year and they have averaged 2.74 gpg and have allowed 2.84 gpg in those games.
Protecting the crease for the Sharks in this one will be Martin Jones, who went 4-0 with a 1.00 GAA and a .970 save percentage against the Ducks in the first series and he is now 20-14 with a 1.90 GAA and a .931 save percentage in the postseason in his career. During the regular season, he was 30-28 with a 2.55 GAA and a .915 save percentage overall, including 11-16 with a 2.72 GAA and a .914 save percentage on the road, while against the Golden Knights he was 1-2 with a 3.32 GAA and a .889 save percentage this year.
The Sharks have been a solid offensive team in the postseason so far as they come in ranked 3rd in the league in scoring at 4.00 gpg, while also ranking 10th in shots taken (32.3 spg) and 4th in power play conversions, converting on 30.0% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they were have been very strong so far as they come in ranked 2nd in goals allowed, giving up 1.00 gpg, while also ranking 10th in shots allowed (33.0 spg) and 7th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 16.7% of their chances.
Golden Knights Take Down the Kings Behind Fleury
Experience is something that you really need to be successful in the postseason, especially in the crease and the Golden Knight have that with Marc-Andre Fleury and he was very strong in the opening series against the Kings. I will get to his numbers in a moment. They really needed him to be at his best as the offense was not great in that series, scoring a total of seven goals in the four games. Despite their struggles on offense in the opening series, they were still able to sweep the Kings in four straight. The offense has been one of the best in the league all year, but they have now averaged just 2.40 gpg over their last 10 games. In the final game against the Kings, they won by a score of 1-0 and getting their lone goal in the game was Brayden McNabb, which was his 1st of the series and 6th of the year. The Golden Knights have gone 31-12 here at home for the year and they have averaged 3.47 gpg and have allowed 2.40 gpg in those games.
The Golden Knights will be sending out Marc-Andre Fleury, who was 4-0 with a 0.65 GAA and a .977 save percentage against the Kings in the first series and is now 66-51 with a 2.57 GAA and a .911 save percentage in the postseason in his career. During the regular season, he was 29-17 with a 2.24 GAA and a .927 save percentage overall, including 16-10 with a 2.36 GAA and a .922 save percentage here at home. In his career, he has gone 7-6 with a 2.21 GAA and a .935 save percentage against the Sharks.
The Golden Knights have struggled on offense in the playoffs so far as they come in ranked 14th in scoring at 1.75 gpg, while also ranking 8th in shots taken (32.8 spg) and 15th in power play conversions, converting on 8.3% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been very strong so far as they come in ranked 1st in goals allowed, giving up just 0.75 gpg, while also ranking 8th in shots allowed (32.5 spg) and 1st in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 7.3% of their chances.
San Jose is:
- The Under is 4-1-1 in their last six road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600
- The Under is 3-1-1 in their last five vs. the Pacific.
- The Under is 7-1-1 in their last nine after allowing two goals or less in their previous game
- The Under is 10-3-1 in their last 14 games following a win
Both of these offenses have been solid this year, but this game will not be about the offenses. The Sharks allowed a total of four goals in their first series, while the Golden Knights allowed just three total goals against the Kings. These two goalies are playing at a very high level at the moment. The Sharks scored 16 goals in their series against the Ducks, but the Sharks have averaged just 2.74 gpg on the road and the Golden Knights have allowed just 2.40 gpg here at home. Vegas has struggled to score of late as they have averaged just 2.40 gpg over their last 10 games and I just don’t see that offense perking back up against a red-hot Martin Jones. Look for this one to go Under the total.