San Jose Sharks Top Games of 2014

Sharks2014The San Jose Sharks enter the 2014-15 season with a bit of an identity crisis. Last year’s team finished with 111 points, cruising to a second place finish in the Pacific Division.  Their 51 wins was second in the division to only the Anaheim Ducks and they had just 22 losses, two more than Anaheim. Everything was looking up as the Sharks entered the first round of the playoffs with a matchup against bitter rivals Los Angeles.  And after the first three games, the Sharks had a commanding 3-0 lead over the Kings with a total of 17 goals scored against LA’s right goals score.

The rest of that series is history as Los Angeles rebounded from that 3-0 deficit to win the series and eventually go on to win the Stanley Cup.  The Sharks goal scorers disappeared, scoring just two goals in the final three games of the series and getting outscored 18-5 in the final four games of the season.

San Jose was obviously shell-shocked and entered the offseason trying to figure out how such a calamity could occur.  It was arguably the worst post-season defeat in the history of the NHL and fans were calling for the heads from the owner all the way down to last player on the roster.

Ultimately, the team made few changes during the offseason, preferring to look at the big picture.  For 85 games, the Sharks were one of the two or three best teams in the Western Conference and it was only until the last four games of the year that the wheels came apart.  So San Jose stood pat and made only minor tweaks to the roster, rather than wholesale changes.  Dan Boyle and Martin Havlat were both let go and several small contracts were handed out to players to fill out the minors.

So the 2014-15 season Sharks look much like last year’s rendition.  Antti Niemi will be in net with Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Logan Couture leading the team.  Initial results have been impressive with the Sharks partially avenging their postseason loss with a 4-0 spanking of the Kings on opening night.  Their home opener against the Jets was equally as impressive, a 3-0 victory with backup goaltender Alex Stalock pitching the shutout.

Sharks fans still feel the pain from last year’s defeat, but they came out in force to the home opener and demand for Sharks tickets continues to remain high. Currently, the average price on the secondary market for Sharks tickets this season is $136.  The two most expensive games of the year occur on January 31st and March 14th when the Chicago Blackhawks come to town.  Sharks vs. Blackhawks tickets have an average ticket price of $191 for the March meeting and $183 for the last day of January. Another pricey outing would be January 10th when the defending Eastern Conference champion New York Rangers visit the west coast.  Sharks vs. NY Rangers tickets have an average ticket price of $164, but are available for as low as $51 on TicketCity.

So not much has changed for San Jose, but the team needs to discover who they are and rid themselves of recent memory.  If they can do that, there’s a strong chance they will enter the playoffs, once again, as one of the top seeds in the Western Conference.