Welcome to Part Two of Shark Opponents.
San Jose played three games against the Flames in 2013, sporting a record of 2-1.
The Sharks had trouble scoring against Calgary, recording only 7 goals in the three games. but Antti Niemi held the Flames to 6 over the same period of games.
San Jose outshot (103-82) and out-faceoffed (122-92) the Flames.
The Sharks had a powerplay that saw them score twice on thirteen chances, whereas Calgary netted two on eight opportunities.
2013/14 Outlook: It's no secret that Flames GM Jay Feaster finally went into a rebuild mode, shedding the team of its most notable stars at the deadline last season en route to a 6th overall pick in this years draft. The Flames have definitely stepped back for this coming season, despite good drafting. This years draft class won't have a significant impact on the Flames roster for another few years, making Calgary more than welcome in the new Pacific Division. I find it hard to expect the Flames to win more than one game against San Jose this year. Anything less than a 4-1 record against Calgary this year would be a disappointment.
Last year the Sharks took all three games against the Edmonton Oilers by a total score of 13-8 in what was an offensive series.
Both teams enjoyed success on the PP, with San Jose going 4 for 12 and Edmonton going 3 for 13.
The edge in shots (103-84) and face-offs (106-82) went to San Jose.
2013/14 Outlook: We have to assume that the Oilers are going to be better this season. Yakupov turned on the jets at the end of the year and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is expected to be healthy. The Oilers are a very confusing team and organization, but at some point, with the pool of talented youth, this will be a playoff team. I think the Sharks balanced attack on offense and sound defensive system will be too much for the Oilers again this season, but I don't think it will be a sweep. I think the Oilers tighten up this season and the Sharks win the series 3-2.
In the shortened season the Sharks were able to beat Vancouver on all three occasions they met.
The Sharks had the goals advantage, outscoring Vancouver by a score of 10-5.
San Jose also took shots (92-87) and face-offs (114-77).
Vancouvers powerplay was rendered ineffective, failing to score on 12 attempts. San Jose found the back of the net with the man advantage 3 times on 14 chances.
2013/14 Outlook: Vancouver isn't in decline mode just yet, and the good news for Canucks fans is that Cory Schneider was in goal for all three losses against San Jose last year. I'm a Bobby Lou supporter, and I think he's the better goaltender. The Canucks threats offensively haven't changed since last season so there shouldn't be any suprises. I think Luongo takes this series from a Sharks sweep to a 3-2 San Jose win. The Canucks are a talented team, but when you have someone's number, you just don't bet against the house.
Overall, as a Sharks fan, I welcome these three teams to the Pacific with open arms. The Sharks went 8-1 against the three Western Canadian teams who will join the Pacific Division. Now, last season is last season but I fail to see where I should lack excitement about getting three teams who combined for a single win against the Sharks versus getting three teams whom the Sharks struggled against.
Of this group, the only team I can really see making a play for the division is Vancouver, but this isn't the Northwest anymore.
That wraps up the teams that will play in the Pacific next season. I think the three teams that will be Pacific reps for the post-season will be LA, Vancouver and San Jose, not in any particular order.
Anaheim, Phoenix and Edmonton will be looking for a wildcard spot this year, with Calgary scouring the bottom of the league for more items to stock their cupboards with.
Up Next: The Departed (Dallas, Detroit, Columbus)
Thanks for reading!
Stay icy, Sharks fans.