The Sharks were the NHL’s third-best team with the man advantage last year, and they carried that over to the playoffs by scoring at a 24 percent clip.
This year, same story.
San Jose has certainly carried its regular-season PP over to the postseason — only it’s been lousy, not stellar. The Sharks finished 25th in the NHL this year with a 16.7 percent success rate, and are now 1-for-14 through three games against the Oilers.
In Sunday’s 1-0 Game 3 loss, San Jose had two chances with the man advantage. It didn’t score, which makes sense because it wasn’t credited with a single shot on goal.
“You’ve got to shoot the puck,” Logan Couture said, per NBC Sports California. “You’ve got to score some goals. We know that. Obviously that’s been a concern for us all season, our power play hasn’t been where we need it to be.
“We need it to be better. It’s simple to say, it’s easy to say, but we’ve got to be better.”
It’s puzzling why the unit is so bad. All the guys that made last year’s PP so dynamic are still there — Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Brent Burns — but the production isn’t. Last year, the Pavelski-Marleau-Thornton trio combined for 31 PPG.
This year? Just 16.
Head coach Peter DeBoer suggested the group wasn’t “hungry enough” and got outworked, and some of that surely has to do with the Oilers.
Edmonton was a good penalty killing team at home during the regular season — 82.3 percent at Rogers Place — and that carried over to Games 1 and 2, when the Oilers surrendered just one PPG on 12 opportunities. They also got a massive shorthanded goal from Zack Kassian, and have started using captain Connor McDavid more and more on the PK.
After averaging just 48 seconds of shorthanded ice time during the regular season, McDavid is up to 1:57 per in the playoffs.
“He can skate, he’s got great instincts,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan said of McDavid on the kill, per TSN. “His stamina is second to none. Those are all pretty good qualities for a penalty killer.”