The San Jose Sharks are easily the most impressive organization since the early early millennium to have never won the Cup. While the Red Wings are popularly described as the paragon of consistency as a winning team that feeds the machine with acute draft day bargain hunting, San Jose has been a winning team that’s been better at the draft without the Cup to show for it. In fact, since 2003 no team has produced more games played out of its draftees than the Sharks, and they’ve been a good to great team the entire time.
Their current incarnation, 41-17-7 through 65 games, is an up-tempo cycling-possession team with great depth in the crucial areas. They’ve torn the East apart this season and have lost a total four regulation games at home, but the Leafs have a decent 13-8-2 record against Western opponents and are coming off a win over the Ducks which represented just their sixth regulation home loss of the season.
A disadvantage for the Leafs will be the rest factor. Thankfully, Carlyle was able to keep Kessel, Bozak, JvR and Phaneuf’s minutes at reasonable levels in last night’s win thanks to the team’s 2-0 first period lead. Nevertheless, the Sharks have been waiting at home for the Leafs since Saturday after disposing of the Habs in systematic fashion.
No teams allows more shots than the Leafs, and no team takes more shots than the San Jose Sharks. James Reimer better be ready. This will be a big ask of him tonight.
The Leaf lineup is expected to remain otherwise unchanged from last night’s win.
Graphics courtesy Daily Faceoff.