The leading goal scorer in these playoffs has yet to score a goal or even record a point in the Stanley Cup Final. And time is now running out for Joe Pavelski and the San Jose Sharks.
In four games against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Pavelski, who has a league-leading 13 goals in these playoffs, has been completely shut out. Joe Thornton, his linemate, has two assists, both coming in a Game 3 overtime win for San Jose.
However, following a 3-1 loss in Game 4 on Monday, the series, the season and the Stanley Cup are all now on the line.
Prior to Game 4, much was made about Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins star forward, being shut out in three games to begin the series. He went out Monday and had a two-point night.
Is there reason for optimism for the Sharks and their fans — at least for a one-game breakout? After managing a total of four shots on goal through three games of the series for Pavelski, the Sharks captain had five on Matt Murray in Monday’s loss.
“He’s getting his chances, so it’s one of those things — goal-scoring can go in bunches and it can go away,” Sharks veteran forward Patrick Marleau told SFGate.com.
“Sometimes it just doesn’t go in, but he’s been all around it. As long as he’s getting looks, that’s the main thing.”
Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer addressed the struggles of Pavelski and Thornton on Tuesday, saying he feels they’ve created more with each game in the series.
But, using Melker Karlsson‘s goal as the example, he stressed the need for offensive contributions from others in the lineup and the need to draw more penalties. So far, the Sharks have one power play goal in eight opportunities in the entire series. (The Penguins also have only eight power play opportunities.)
“There is no magic answer. They get a ton of attention. I think our support group has to take a little bit of pressure off them,” DeBoer said to reporters.
“You have to give Pittsburgh some credit for the job they’ve done on them. The stars on both sides would tell you there’s not a lot of room out there.”