NASHVILLE, Tenn. On paper, the San Jose Sharks penalty kill is nothing to brag about. A 76.0 percent success rate has them at 25th in the league, which is one spot lower than they finished last season.
This early, though, numbers can be deceiving and thats one of them.
In reality, the Sharks' penalty kill was probably the biggest reason they increased their winning streak to three games on Tuesday night with 3-1 victory in Nashville. They killed off three of four Predators chances, and opened the scoring in the first period when Logan Couture tallied their first shorthanded goal of the year on a two-on-two with Martin Havlat.
The power play goal they did surrender came at an inopportune time in the third period, but keep in mind that defenseman Brent Burns broke his stick while the team was defending in its own zone. After Michal Handzus handed off his own stick to Burns, the Sharks were essentially defending a five-on-three when Craig Smith tied the game.
Prior to that, on the previous three Predators man advantages, the Sharks were in position, getting sticks in passing lanes and blocking shots effectively.
The PK was excellent, in my opinion, said Todd McLellan. They have a dangerous power play and good set that can shoot the puck. The goal we gave up, theres nothing we can do about that. The guy has a broken stick and the puck always seems to squirt to the guy that doesnt have a stick, and in it goes. But, Nemo made some big saves there, and fortunately for us we were able to come back and score right after that.
If youre still hung up on the numbers, though, heres one. Since the Sharks surrendered three power play goals to Phoenix on opening night, with two of them coming after the game had essentially been decided, the team has given up just three power play goals in 18 opportunities. That comes out to a much more respectable 83.3 percent.
Its been real good, said Joe Thornton of the penalty kill. Its probably won us some games on this road trip, which is a good sign.