The San Jose Sharks got off to one of the best starts in the NHL this season, but ever since the team lost to the Anaheim Ducks at the beginning of the month, they’ve been on a bit of a downward slide. Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture all got off to hot starts for the team and it seemed like they could score at will. In the past four games, all losses, the Sharks have not gotten much output from their top players. If they are going to get back on track, those four players will need to find their scoring touch, and they need to do it soon.
Marleau had two goals in each of San Jose’s first four games, and nine total in their first five. He has not scored since that amazing first week. Pavelski scored on the power play in a 5-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, and Couture had the lone Sharks goal against the Ducks. Thornton has cooled off as well, and has not registered a point in the team’s past five games. He had three goals and 14 points through their first six games.
A big part of the recent scoring lapse is a slumping power play. All four of these players see time with the man-advantage, yet the Sharks have converted only once in their last six games. The team has had 25 power play chances during that stretch.
Things don’t get easier anytime soon for the Sharks, as they face a six-game road trip spread over the next two weeks. They will spend the first five of those games meeting the Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, Blackhawks (twice) and St. Louis Blues – some of the most dangerous teams in the Central Division. If Thornton and the rest of the team’s top-end offensive talent don’t get back on track soon, February may be a long month for the Sharks.