It’s better to be lucky than good, but it’s worse to be unlucky and bad. The San Jose Sharks were both in Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings.
The Kings’ third goal was textbook. Well, it was if we’re talking about a physics class. as the puck bounced off of Brenden Dillon’s stick, Joe Thornton’s jersey and past Jones. The fourth might as well have been set to “Yakety Sax” when Jones dropped a dump-in and left the puck on a platter for ... Sharks forward Melker Karlsson?
Two weird goals in less than two minutes ended Martin Jones’ night and all but sealed San Jose’s second loss of the season. It’d be tempting to chalk it up to bad luck, but that does not paint the whole picture.
The Kings may have been lucky, but they were also very good.
They outshot the Sharks 39-25 in all situations, including a 27-23 advantage at even strength. The ice was tilted well in Los Angeles’ favor, and they spent extended stretches in San Jose’s defensive zone.
Frankly, it could have been worse. Luck may not have been on San Jose’s side all night, but it certainly was on the penalty kill. The Sharks pressured the puck down a man, but the Kings were able to mitigate that pressure easily and generate plenty of chances. An inch here or there, and perhaps Jones is pulled sooner.
The Sharks weren’t inches away from getting back in the game. They didn’t do much at even strength, and they did even less on the power play.
It was an area in which the team struggled last season, and one they don’t appear much better in after two games. They scored twice with the man advantage in Wednesday’s season opener, albeit off of a broken play and a deflected pass. That process doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, even if the results do.
Luckily, the Sharks don’t play again until Thursday. There’s time to diagnose what’s ailed them, and to overcome their first 0-2 start since 2005, when Joe Thornton was still in Boston. The Sharks won’t need to turn back the clock that far to find solutions, but it’s clear they need to do something differently.
So sure, the Sharks were unlucky to allow some of the goals they gave up on Saturday. The loss still could have been worse. And if they don’t manage to improve their play, luck will be the least of their concerns.