Patrick Marleau's big return masks Sharks woes
The San Jose Sharks recorded their first win of the season on Thursday night. The Sharks defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 behind a pair of goals from Patrick Marleau in his triumphant return to teal and black.
The news that Marleau was returning to the Sharks helped ease the sting of any ugly 0-4 start. It also helped return some goodwill to San Jose's management which has been heavily criticized since failing to bring back roster mainstays in Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donkoi.
Marleau returns to the team nobody ever expected him to leave in the first place. Like Pavelski and Donskoi, he was not resigned following the 2016-17 season despite scoring 27 and playing in all 82 games. The 40-year-0ld spend the last two seasons in Toronto where he didn't miss a game, scoring 27 and 16 goals respectively.
His big return couldn't have come at a better time. San Jose has been embarrassed in its first four games, failing to score more than two in any game and outscored 17-4 overall.
A win is a win and Marleau's performance gives his team a big boost, but don't fool yourself...the Sharks have a ton of issues.
First off they have given up an early first-period goal in each and every game. Check out this tweet from Kevin Kurz.
It's hard to win games when you continuely find yourself trying to climb out of a hole. This goes hand-in-hand with my next reason. When Barclay Goodrow scored the go-ahead goal against the Hawks, it marked the first time all season San Jose held a lead at any point.
The goaltending has been just as bad, maybe worse than last season. Martin Jones has surrendered 12 goals on 82 hots for a stomach-turning .854 save percentage. Aaron Dell isn't any better. He's sporting a .884 save percentage.
The Sharks are the fourth-most penalized team with 21 and numero uno in terms of PIMs with 72. Their penalty kill ranks 8th at 87.5% and the power play sits 23rd at 15%. Keep in mind, the Sharks have played more games than the majority of the league.
And don't get me started on the goal-scoring. San Jose sits 20th in goals for with 10 and every team below them has played between 1 and 3 games less than them.
The numbers speak for themselves, but the on-ice play itself stinks. Erik Karlsson has been atrocious defensively and the forwards spend more time coasting than I seem to recall. If this continues the calls for Pete Deboer's head are going to become deafening.
The good news is they won and that's a start. Maybe Owen Nolan and Arturs Irbe can come back in time for the next game? It looks like this team is going to need all the help it can get this season.
Thanks for reading,