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Sharks' belief in goalie remains high despite down season

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - With nine players with at least 50 points, four 30-goal scorers and three world-class defensemen, the San Jose Sharks have almost all the ingredients necessary to make a long playoff run. The one major question facing the Sharks is in goal, where Martin Jones struggled all season and enters the postseason with the lowest save percentage for any starter on a playoff team. Despite that apparent weakness, the Sharks never wavered in their confidence in their goaltender. The team declined to make a move before the trade deadline to add a more consistent netminder in the hopes that Jones can regain the form that made him such a valuable part of the franchise in his first three playoffs with the Sharks. "They should have a stat that says belief in your goaltender," coach Peter DeBoer said Monday as his team began preparing for a first-round series against Vegas. "If they had that stat, Jonesy would be batting a thousand with our group. There's not one mumble or whisper in our group about him or our confidence in him to get the job done. That's the one analytic stat I can give you guys that maybe you don't have access to." That confidence has been earned the past three postseasons. Jones has a .926 career save percentage in the playoffs, the sixth best in NHL history among goalies with at least 40 starts. He has allowed two or fewer goals in nearly two-thirds of his appearances. He has allowed more than three goals in regulation just twice in his past 32 playoff starts. That kind of performance is why the Sharks signed him to a six-year, $34.5 million extension two summers ago. "He seems to really dial in for big games," defenseman Justin Braun said. "You're not worried about him this time of year to make the saves he needs to make." But that level...