The Sharks’ road trip, which began with promise less than a week ago, ended in disappointment and a third consecutive loss on Sunday after they blew a two-goal lead against the Minnesota Wild.
Where did San Jose’s road trip go wrong? Here are three key statistics that, taken together, aim to answer that question.
That was the Sharks’ share of all five-on-five shot attempts on its Central Division jaunt, according to Natural Stat Trick. The share of unblocked shot attempts was slightly higher (47.57 percent), but no matter which possession metric you utilize, it’s clear that San Jose ceded the majority of it on the road trip.
It’s possible to win games despite getting out-possessed, especially when a goalie plays as well as Martin Jones did. That becomes much harder, though, when the team is not generating more looks than their opponents.
The Sharks didn’t win in the way of quantity, or quality (43.75 percent high-danger chances for) of opportunities during five-on-five play. Therefore, it’s no shock they were also outscored 11-7 at even strength.
A hot power play can mask five-on-five issues, but San Jose’s remained ice cold, failing to convert on all nine opportunities. That wasn’t for a lack of trying, though.
The Sharks generated shot attempts (127.51 per 60 minutes), shots (68 per 60), and high-danger chances (25.5 per 60) at higher rates than their respective season averages in those categories. They did, however, spend about a minute-and-a-half less on the power play (3:31 per game) than usual (5:04), and only had a single power play opportunity in each of the last two games.
Even if they manage to draw fewer power plays down the stretch, it’s difficult to envision the power play remaining scoreless as long as it continues to generate offense. But, the lack of five-on-five possession made San Jose’s power play that much more important, and it did not deliver.
We end with the number of goals the Sharks scored, across all the strengths, in the third period on the trip.
San Jose failed to score in all but one of those third periods. The only goal came on Friday in Chicago, when the Sharks had already given up a third period goal that proved to be the game-winner.
It’s notoriously difficult for NHL teams to come back from a deficit entering the third period, but the Sharks didn’t score in either of the games they led headed into the final 20 minutes, either. They were able to hang on in St. Louis, but failing to do so was the difference between a .500 road trip and a losing one.