After Saturday’s 2-0 loss to the Wild, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski sounded like a guy with a desk job who’d had a hard day at the office where the pile in his “To-Do” box wasn’t getting any smaller.
“We’ve got to go back to work. Go back to the drawing board and simplify a few things,” he sighed. “You’ve got to start getting the job done.”
The big talk headed into Saturday’s tilt was all about the shuffled offensive lines. Were they going to be effective right away? Were they going to be effective at all? Would the offense get enough of a jolt to make up for the defensive lapses that plagued San Jose over their previous handful of games?
While the Sharks certainly put a tougher product out on the ice, they still had trouble finding the back of the net — which was mostly due to Saturday’s game being quite the goaltending matchup between Martin Jones and the visiting Darcy Kuemper.
Then Minnesota took advantage of the one mistakes that San Jose made, and Zach Parise broke up the scoreless match in the third frame, squeaking the puck under Jones’ outstretched pad.
“It was a game where one mistake was probably going to win the game,” coach Peter DeBoer said of the Parise goal. “We can break it down any way we want. They made some mistakes, we didn’t capitalize. They capitalized on one. That was the hockey game.”
It’s kind of a “same story, different night” kind of thing at this point. It’s not like the Sharks aren’t showing that they’re working — heck, their contest with the Wild had a nice back-and-forth rhythm with plenty of primo scoring chances for the home team — but one defensive breakdown doomed them to defeat.
“We’ve played games where we’ve worked, and it feels like we could deserve a little better at times,” Pavelski said. “For whatever reason, it hasn’t happened yet.”
While San Jose looked strong to open up the game — an improvement over many of their starts — they ran into turnover trouble in the latter part of the first frame, with Jones being the reason the game stayed scoreless through the first 20 minutes. Jones’ huge save on a Thomas Vanek breakaway in the opening period kept Minnesota from scoring. He had another quick stop on Mikko Koivu with 1:42 left to keep the shutout rolling into the first intermission.
The home team buckled down in the second stanza, and thanks to some big defensive saves they were able to keep the opposition off the board. They smothered a wicked flurry by the Wild to give Jones some much-needed help.
But the defense took their foot off the gas for a second in the third, leaving Parise plenty of time to chip the puck into San Jose’s net. Koivu sealed the deal for the Wild when Jones was pulled with 1:39 left and he deposited the empty-netter from up top.
“You drop six in a row, it gets frustrating out there,” Pavelski said. “It’s about getting over that hump now, and breaking this little funk that we’re in and start pushing forward.”
— San Jose is now 8-2-0 in their last ten home games against Minnesota.
— San Jose outhit the Wild 41-to-19 tonight.
— San Jose’s 41 hits marked their highest total of the season.
— The Sharks registered eight takeaways to Minnesota’s two.