The San Jose Sharks are facing elimination and Joe Pavelski has yet to show up to the Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Pavelski hasn’t even registered a point in the four games played in the series. He only has nine shots on goal and five of them came in a Game 4 loss. It hasn’t helped that the Sharks have had to play from behind in every game and so they aren’t drawing a lot of penalties on the Penguins. The lack of time on the man advantage is just one reason why Pavelski hasn’t been able to produce points in the series. Pittsburgh is controlling the possession game almost from the start and when a player has to defend then it’s hard to get anything going offensively.
The Penguins have done a really good job of playing in the offensive zone and making the top guys on the Sharks defend. They’ve also done a good job of blocking shots and letting Matt Murray see the play in front of him. Pittsburgh’s defense is taking away any time and space that Pavelski would normally have to create a play or get a shot off. Pavelski’s line has had some shifts where they’ve done a nice job of winning board battles and cycling the puck, but nothing has come of it because of the strong defense of the Penguins.
Pavelski has had some scoring chances in the series even with the lack of shots on net. He either hasn’t been able to get the shot off in time because of a nice play by the Penguins defense or he misses the net high and wide. He’s going to have to find a way to put up the numbers he did in the previous rounds or his team will be eliminated in Game 5.
In five games against the Los Angeles Kings in round one of the postseason, he had five goals and one assist for six points, which included two power play goals and a game-winning goal to help the Sharks advance to the second round. In the second round, they faced the Nashville Predators, where in seven games, Pavelski had four goals, three assists, seven points, two power play goals and two game-winning goals. He averaged a point per game in this series.
In the Western Conference Final against the St. Louis Blues, Pavelski had four goals, five assists, nine points, one power play goal and one game-winning goal. He averaged 1.29 points per game in the Western Conference Final. In 22 games played this postseason, the forward has 13 goals, nine assists, 22 points, five power play goals and four game-winning goals.
If the Sharks want to live another day and force a Game 6, then Pavelski is somehow going to have to find his game and the back of the net.