Scoring Woes Continue for San Jose Sharks

By Sam Kelly
Robert Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks are in a severe offensive slump that has cost them more than a couple of games over the past two weeks. The team was lucky to edge out the Dallas Stars 2-1 in overtime on Wednesday night, having managed just 21 shots on goal and creating few quality scoring chances.

It seems that almost every Shark is in the middle of a scoring slump at the moment, and it’s a miracle that the club has still been able to win six of its last 10 contests. Joe Thornton, who routinely leads the team in scoring, is having a strong season with 56 points through 58 games. In his last six outings, though, Jumbo Joe has just one point.

He’s not alone. Veteran forward Patrick Marleau has also registered only one point in his last six games. The 34-year-old winger is a minus-7 over that stretch.

Thornton and Marleau are San Jose’s best players. They’re the faces of the franchise, and they’re relied upon to provide the bulk of the team’s scoring.

So when they’re slumping, what are the Sharks supposed to do?

The answer is turn to their secondary scorers. The problem is that the squad’s other offensive weapons are either injured or in slumps of their own.

Logan Couture has been out with an upper-body injury since Jan. 5 while rookie sensation Tomas Hertl hasn’t played since suffering a knee injury in Los Angeles on Dec. 19. Raffi Torres, who provided some scoring depth form the third line last season, has been out all year with a torn ACL suffered during the preseason.

Meanwhile, the remainder of the Sharks’ healthy forwards have been struggling to find the score sheet. Joe Pavelski joins Thornton and Marleau in the group of players with just one point through the last six games. First-line winger Brent Burns has no goals and one assist in his last eight contests.

Finally, there’s Marty Havlat, the oft-injured Czech winger who has been a non-factor for the majority of the season with just 10 points in 27 appearances. He has two points in five games since returning from injury on Jan. 29, though he was admittedly one of San Jose’s best players in Wednesday’s win over Dallas.

If individual stats aren’t sufficient evidence that the Sharks aren’t scoring, perhaps a look at the team’s goal totals will be. Over the last 10 games, San Jose has managed a frugal 18 goals. This averages out to 1.8 goals per game which is well below the league average.

The numbers are even more jarring when you look at the Sharks’ last six games, which covers the last two weeks of play. They were shutout in back-to-back games and then scored just one goal in each of their next two contests. In total, the team registered six goals.

The upcoming Olympic break will provide some recovery time for Couture, Hertl and Torres, and hopefully it will give the rest of the offense a chance to reset and come out strong when play resumes at the end of the month. The Sharks will need to get out of their scoring slump fast if they hope to contend for a top playoff seed.

Sam Kelly is a San Jose Sharks columnist for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter and add him to your Google network.

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