After the San Jose Sharks' 3-2 loss in Game 1 to the Vancouver Canucks, many hockey folks are wondering: where is Dany Heatley?
In 14 games, Heatley has 8 points (3 goals and 5 assists). While that is not terrible, the number of goals is certainly alarming considering that they could be hard to come by against Roberto Luongo and the Canucks.
In the regular season, there is no doubt that Heatley can put the puck in the net. In fact, Heatley, 30, has 325 career goals in the regular season. The playoffs, however, have been a much different story for the sniper.
In five years worth of playoff experience, Heatley has just 15 goals. Yes, he has 41 assists to go with that, but the Sharks are paying Heatley the big bucks to put the puck in the net; something he has not done with regularity in this year's postseason.
In this year's playoffs, Heatley has put 35 shots on net and cashed in just three time, giving him a shooting percentage of 8.6%... certainly not something to brag about. Of those 35 shots, however, not many are coming from the quality scoring areas, so it makes sense why Heatley is having trouble putting the puck to the net.
When you look back to last year's playoffs, Heatley scored twice on 45 shots (a percentage of 4.4%). He even struggled this season, by his standards. His 26 goals and 64 points were his lowest totals since the lockout.
For Heatley to score goals, he needs to do the things that have made him so successful in his career. He needs to go hard to the net, stand in the slot and take some heat, go to the net for deflections and rebounds and utilize his hard and accurate wrist shot from the slot.
If Heatley can get going, that will take the pressure off of guys like Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Ryane Clowe, and make the Sharks an even more dangerous team.
Photo credit: Getty Images