In a disappointing performance, the Sharks were downed by the Hurricanes in Carolina, 1-0, in a game that wasn’t as close as that score would indicate. Three takeaways from the game, which snapped San Jose’s three-game winning streak…
1 – Lack of compete level
Despite one early shift by Carolina in which it controlled play for about two straight minutes in the Sharks’ zone, the scoreless first period wasn’t a bad one for San Jose. After the intermission, though, the Sharks just didn’t seem very interested in being at PNC Arena. They managed just two shots in the middle frame and 10 total after the first intermission, and were destroyed in the faceoff circle, losing 69 percent of the draws for the night (including an 0-for-8 from Chris Tierney, and 3-for-14 by Tomas Hertl). Carolina was the much better team, particularly over the final two periods.
It was a drastic drop off from the previous three games on the trip, in which San Jose outscored Washington, Florida and Tampa Bay by a combined 10-3 score.
“They took it to us tonight, there’s no way around that,” Logan Couture told reporters.
2 – Dell outstanding
Silver lining, thy name is Aaron Dell. Despite not starting a game since Oct. 18, Dell gave a memorable performance in net, allowing just Joakim Nordstrom’s third period score. He finished with 32 saves, including some dazzling stops while it was still 0-0. The game was eerily similar to one the Sharks played almost exactly two years ago on Nov. 16, 2014, when then rookie Troy Grosenick bailed out his lethargic team with a 45-save shutout.
In three games, Dell has a 1.90 goals-against average and .932 save percentage. The Sharks have played just one of their 16 back-to-backs this season, so Dell should see much more action shortly. If his two starts are any indication, he can hold down the backup position just fine.
“He gave us a chance to hang around in a game we didn’t deserve to be in,” coach Pete DeBoer told reporters.
3 – Road trip can still be a successful one
The Sharks still sit at 3-1 on their road trip, with a rematch against the Blues on the horizon on Thursday and a very winnable game in Arizona on Saturday. They can’t go 6-0 on this trip like they did last November, but it’s doubtful anyone on the club truly expected them to do that again.
Perhaps they were looking forward to that Western Conference Final rematch against St. Louis that they let their game slip against Carolina. Regardless, they all are surely aware they’ll have to be better against a Blues club that will be looking to exact some revenge on the team that eliminated them last May.