Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Playoff Woes of San Jose

Well, the San Jose Sharks have once again struck out big in the playoffs. This year could be their most disappointing early exit, but those involved with the franchise are no strangers to earlier than expected playoff exits. Since 2000/01, the Sharks have finished first or second in their division in seven of the eight seasons and have only once gotten as far as the semi-finals. This was in 2004 when they lost in six games to the Calgary Flames. However, the worst Sharks playoff team ever was in 1995, a squad that may very well be the worst NHL team in history that actually won a playoff series.

In 1994/95 the Sharks finished the lockout shortened season with a 19-25-4 record and a .438 winning percentage. They would match up against the Flames in the first round and managed to surrender an NHL record (for a 7 game series) 35 goals. The Sharks won the first two games of the series each by 5-4 scores and then lost the next three by a combined score of 21 to 6. San Jose won game six by 5-3 and of course won game seven in overtime, 5-4. All told, they scored 26 goals and were still outscored by 9.

San Jose was given the privilege of taking on regular season champs Detroit. The Wings barely noticed the Sharks in sweeping them by scores of 6-0, 6-2, 6-2, and again 6-2. The aggregate score of 24-6 did quite a number on the Sharks individual plus/minus stats.
For the entire playoff “run”, San Jose managed four wins against seven losses and scored 32 goals while surrendering 58. Certainly this has to be one of the most atrocious ratios for a team that actually managed to win a round.

The Sharks had five players among the worst single playoff +/- ever. Mike Rathje at -15, Tom Pederson -14 and Ulf Dahlen, Craig Janney and Sandis Ozolinsh at -13. They had exactly ONE skater with a plus rating in Shawn Cronin who played nine games and was +2. As poor as their regular season was with a team +/- of -92 over 48 games, they managed to top that in 11 playoff games with a ridiculous team rating of -115.
Dahlen led the squad with five goals and nine points in eleven games and Wade Flaherty and Arturs Irbe checked in with Goals Against Averages of 4.93 and 5.13 respectively.

Perhaps Joe Thornton and the boys can look back at this squad and take solace in the fact that they were only a collective -37 in six games versus Anaheim this year.

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