Team Effort Has Lead To Season Turnaround 

Team Effort Has Lead To Season Turnaround

The Sharks recent turnaround to the season has been a direct result of every player on the roster working together to score goals while maintaining their defensive responsibilities. Their power play and penalty killing has improved as well. They have killed off twenty-nine of their thirty-one penalties and scored in eight of their forty-one power play opportunities during their last nine games. Their power play is currently ranked tenth in the NHL and their penalty kill is ranked sixteenth. As a result, they have scored more goals and reduced the amount of goals allowed.

It seems that every night there has been a different hero and the offensive production has spread throughout the team. Nearly every member on the roster has chipped in the scoring. On Thursday at home against the Colorado Avalanche, Nils Ekman scored two goals. It was his first career two-goal game of the season and of his career. In Calgary on Tuesday, Jonathan Cheechoo scored the only goal of the game. Niko Dimitrakos is second among NHL rookies in +/- rating with a +6 rating.

The Sharks will have a chance to gain two points on a division rival, the Dallas Stars, in tonight's home game. The fact that the game is against a divisional opponent gives it more significance than if it were against a non-divisional one. A win or loss against a division or conference foe creates a four-point swing in the standings.

Not only have the Sharks been scoring more and playing better defense, they have also benefited from Vesa Toskala's stellar goaltending. The rookie goalie from Finland has provided the team with confidence in net at a time they have needed it most. Starting goalie Evgeni Nabokov has been out for nine games with a groin injury and Miikka Kiprusoff was traded for a second round draft choice last month.

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Comment I think the Sharks' turnaround can be directly attributed to Matt's comment that there has been a different hero every night. I think this team finally figured out that they no longer had the Nolans and Selannes of the world to depend on for a goal when they needed it most. The Sharks no longer have that superstar to lean on. I think they were slow to figure that out and their rash of ties was the result, as no one was ready to step up with the game on the line. Now everyone realizez they all play an equal role. Whether it be Marleau, McCauley, Ricci or Cheechoo, they're all ready to play. Those are the most dangerous teams come playoff time. They might not have the big threat, but they'll have 18 guys all thinking 'I can score' at the same time.

Mon Dec 15, 2003 6:08 pm MST by Brian

Comment A very nice and brief take on the Sharks' season thus far.

Sat Dec 6, 2003 9:15 pm MST by Zennie

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