BOSTON – Nothing good came from the Sharks’ only visit of the season to Boston, as the Bruins outworked and outplayed San Jose on Thursday night in a 6-3 final. Here’s what we’re taking away from the defeat, the Sharks’ third in a row.
1 – Work ethic lacking
Sometimes, hockey is a simple game. Work hard and smart, and more nights than not you’re going to be successful, especially when you’re a team as talented as the Sharks are.
San Jose did neither on Thursday.
After taking a somewhat casual tone following that third period disaster in Buffalo – both after the game, and on Thursday morning in Boston – the Sharks were much more critical of themselves after getting spanked. Coach Pete DeBoer wasn’t making any Super Bowl jokes after this one, and was as aggravated after a game as he’s been in awhile.
When it was suggested that the Sharks weren’t strong in front of their own net, he said: “I wish it was that simple. We weren't strong anywhere. Special teams, in front our own net, in front of their net. That's what you get when you play like that."
As for the penalty kill, just 5-for-10 over the last three games, the coach said: "The PK mimicked our whole game. It was not good."
2 – Jones gets the hook
It took his 47th start for Martin Jones to be pulled for just the second time this season, and first time in more than three months. He probably could have stopped the first two Boston goals, but it’s not like they were routine saves, either. He wasn’t getting much help.
Speaking about the team in front of him, Jones said, “We just weren’t really sharp today.”
He also included himself, though. “I wasn’t overly sharp to start the game, and when you go down 3-1 in the first period, it’s tough.”
Anytime he hits a rough stretch now, the question of fatigue will arise. Jones is second in the NHL in minutes with 2744, and has allowed a whopping seven goals on his last 23 shots faced.
Originally, I figured that it would be Aaron Dell in net against the Flyers on Saturday afternoon, since Dell recorded his first NHL shutout on Dec. 30 against them. Perhaps DeBoer wants to ice his best lineup, though, to try to put an end to this winless skid. I could see him going back to Jones now for Philly, and leaving Dell for New Jersey on Sunday afternoon in the second of a back-to-back. That would give Jones three days off before the schedule resumes at home on Wednesday.
3 – Ability to respond
Championship-caliber teams don’t let losing streaks stretch very long, and that’s been the case with the Sharks this season, as they haven’t gone more than three games without a win.
Saturday’s game is quite winnable, too. The Flyers are just 6-11-3 in their last 20 games, and have lost three in a row themselves, scoring just one goal over that span.
The Sharks will get a chance to repair their defensive game against the NHL’s coldest offense.
“We’ve got a veteran group. Those guys have seen and done it all. We’ll really around them and come out and shake these two games off and get going forward,” Justin Braun said.
DeBoer said: “We've had some games like this before, we've always bounced back. We've lost coming into tonight, one of our last 10 in regulation. It's not a panic time and I don't want to paint it like that, because it's not."
The Sharks have lost games by three goals or more seven times now this season. They are 6-0 in the following game so far.