The Sharks haven't been this hot in a while.
They're in the middle of a seven-game winning streak, after beating the Calgary Flames on Saturday, and their last seven-game streak began five years ago Sunday. It's been seven years since they've won eight in a row, and 10 since they've won any more than eight.
San Jose has only done the latter five times previously, and have a chance to do so on Monday in Chicago. It's a good sign, then, that San Jose hasn't scored this many goals (34) in a seven-game winning streak since 1994 (37), and that those goals are already the third-most of any winning streak that's lasted seven or more games in franchise history.
As you might expect, their shooting percentage over that stretch is high: 14.53 percent across all situations, and 12.43 percent during five-on-five play (according to Natural Stat Trick). Considering the league's best finishing team, Tampa Bay, shot at a 10.9 percent clip in all situations and 9.37 percent when five-on-five entering Monday, it's fair to say that the Sharks are riding the percentages to a certain extent.
But only to an extent, as the Sharks' underlying numbers are solid, too. Adjusting for score and venue, San Jose's controlled 52.69 percent of the five-on-five shot attempts (corsi-for) and 52.08 percent of the unblocked shot attempts (fenwick-for), the eighth and 10th-best marks in the league since the winning streak began, meaning the winning streak is built atop a solid foundation.
But how does that foundation look when compared to other seven-plus game streaks since shot attempts were first tracked a decade ago? Let's take a look, using score-and-venue adjusted (SVA) corsi-for (CF) and fenwick-for (FF) percentages.
5v5, SVA CF%
5v5, SVA FF%
Nov. 13, 2008-
Feb. 15, 2011-
Dec. 17, 2009-
Oct. 25, 2008-
March 12, 2018-
March 25, 2013-
Jan. 20, 2013-
As the table above shows, the Sharks haven't rolled over opponents in the same way Ron Wilson's last team or Todd McLellan's first team did, but do compare favorably to the most-recent seven-game winners, as well as a team that won eight in a row. Some additional context is important here.
For one, the Sharks this year are the league's 13th-best SVA-possession team (51.27 percent CF), when they were a top-five team in 2007-08 (54.77 percent) and 2008-09 (54.92 percent). For another, few teams dominate puck possession the same way nowadays as those teams did.
As Andrew Berkshire noted in the Sporting News in December, the gaps between the league's worst possession teams and the best have closed substantially over the last decade. The amount of teams within one or two percent of 'even' (50 percent) has also increased. The Sharks exceeding that two percent, however barely, can thus make a big difference.
With all of that in mind, the Sharks are playing the kind of hockey where it's fair to think the streak can last a little longer. Their current best doesn't match the heights they set a decade ago, but it does feel like their proper ceiling considering league-wide trends and how the team is constructed.
That doesn't mean the winning streak will continue, but the Sharks are playing well enough where you shouldn't necessarily be surprised if it does.