Sharks

Analysis: Don't expect Sharks' poor OT to carry over into Game 6

Analysis: Don't expect Sharks' poor OT to carry over into Game 6

EDMONTON – Game 5 between the Sharks and Oilers will be remembered primarily for Edmonton’s late dominance, as it completely controlled play in overtime capped off by David Desharnais’ game-winning goal in a 4-3 triumph.

But to assume that it will be more of the same to start Game 6 would be misguided. The fact is the Sharks actually played a pretty darn good road game despite what the stats – both traditional and advanced – say.

Yes, the Sharks were outshot 48-30 in the game, and out-attempted a whopping 107-56. But they also managed to erase an early 1-0 hole to take control of the game in the second period, and were keeping the Oilers from getting any prime chances in the third, too. That veteran savvy that experienced teams show this time of year was on full display.

Oscar Klefbom’s game-tying slap shot wasn’t all that great of a scoring chance, either. He just wound up and fired the puck as hard as he could, and had Joe Pavelski been standing in just a slightly different position, the shot wouldn’t have made it through. It’s a wonder that it didn’t touch the Sharks captain, who looked to be in the right spot.

“The block is there for me, it misses me – probably got a screen on [Martin Jones] maybe a little bit, they tie it up,” Pavelski said.

While it’s concerning that the Sharks were stuck in their own end in overtime, there’s no reason to believe that will have any effect on Game 6, as this series has shown that there really is no such thing as momentum from game to game. 

Edmonton responded after a horrible final two periods in Game 1, the Sharks were dominant after dropping Game 3 with their season essentially on the line, and the Oilers quickly put that 7-0 defeat behind them in time for the start of Game 5.

The Sharks shouldn’t have to change up a whole lot ahead of Game 6 at home with their season on the line.

“I liked our game,” Pete DeBoer said. “You’re left with the taste of the overtime, but the 60-minute game, we came out and weathered the storm, found a way to get the lead, found a way to play with the lead right until two minutes left.

“There was a lot of good stuff here on the road in a tough environment. I think we’ve got to remind ourselves of that and forget the overtime and what that felt like, and get ready for the next game.”

Of course, the Oilers are showing a bit of mettle themselves. They took a beating in Game 4, and the Sharks landed some more punches in the first and second periods of Game 5, too.

Edmonton still found a way to reclaim the series lead.

“Our group believes,” Todd McLellan said. “We know how bad we played in Game 4, but we were able to park it, and start again, make amends. It didn’t look good for us, but we kept at it. When we do that, we’re a tough out.”

Oilers forward Mark Letestu said: “Momentum in this series clearly hasn't carried over. It seems like we've been going back and forth. It's going to take another good game on their ice to seal this thing out. We have to be ready for it, to take it to another level."

Game 6 should be another dandy. Both teams have a right to feel pretty good about themselves headed into it.

“There’s a lot of mood swings [in the series], but that’s the way it goes,” Mikkel Boedker said. “You’ve got to play every game like it’s the last game. … We get [to go] home now, and we’ll look to tie it up.”

Sharks not satisfied with single point, believe skid will strengthen them

Sharks not satisfied with single point, believe skid will strengthen them

Well, the Sharks certainly made it interesting. Every time the Ducks scored a goal on Friday evening, the Sharks came back and were able to tie things up. They even got the game-tying goal late in the third period that took their contest into overtime – at least, before they lost 4-3.

Perhaps at a different time of year, getting their first point in five games would feel better. Not on this night. 

The focus remains on the work to be done with just seven games left in the regular season. For Team Teal, they need to clean their game up and get back into the win column.

“It’s better than nothing, but overall, we’re just not finding ways to win games now,” Timo Meier told the media in Anaheim regarding the single point. “We’ve got to find a way to win games. It’s an important time of the year. Playoffs are really close.”

San Jose put a better effort on the ice on Friday than they did the previous evening in LA against the Kings, but the opportunistic Ducks were able to bury more of their chances,

"I don’t think we gave them very much," Peter DeBoer said. "Every chance they got, they stuck in the net, though."

DeBoer was more critical of the team a second night in a row, and rightfully so. Despite outshooting the opposition, the Sharks weren’t able to find the back of the net enough times. They allowed two goals while playing on the penalty kill and tallied 14 giveaways. Plus, outside of Meier’s power-play marker, San Jose still went one-for-five on the man advantage. Despite tying the score up three times, the Sharks couldn’t keep the Ducks from responding.

Clearly, all areas of the game need to be tweaked.

“We’ve got to find a way to get an extra save, and on (the other) end we’ve got to find a way to get another goal,” DeBoer said. “We could’ve used a power-play goal tonight -- another one.”

Perhaps the only silver lining, as Meier put it, is that the Sharks are going through this stretch now instead of once they get into the playoffs. San Jose is still trying to get some of its key players healthy and into the lineup so they can make a deep playoff run with the lines and pairs they want. The goal, at least at the moment, is to make sure this five-game skid is a lesson to learn from and not a prelude to the future.

"Get stronger as a team, get tighter as a group, and learn," Meier said. "It’s going to make us stronger going into the playoffs because there are going to be lots of ups and downs coming up. It’s going to make us stronger and we’ve got to react the right way.”

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from overtime loss to Ducks

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from overtime loss to Ducks

BOX SCORE

All the Sharks needed was a win. Just one win on Friday evening against the Ducks. Two points to salvage the road trip, stop the losing streak, and get back to hunting for first place in the division.

Not surprisingly, Team Teal made things interesting with a game that stayed tied up heading down the stretch. Unfortunately for San Jose, the Ducks were the victors in overtime 4-3.

Here are three takeaways from Friday’s game:

How did the power play look?

In a few words: nonexistent until the third. San Jose had three opportunities on the man advantage through the first 40 minutes of play and couldn’t make anything happen. They even gave up a couple breaks the other way that Dell had to stop. Had the power play converted, the Sharks might’ve been up by two or three goals after two period of play.

Timo Meier came up big with the power-play goal in the third period to tie the score up 2-2. While they couldn’t capitalize on the power-play opportunity immediately followed, Meier’s marker will hopefully open up the flood gates for the power play.

Who else stepped up?

Sharks’ bench boss Peter DeBoer didn’t mince words after Thursday’s loss to the Kings, saying that the team needed someone to step up during this stretch with injured superstars and be a hero.

“You’ve got to get a great performance from somebody in a game like this and I don’t think we got that,” DeBoer said on Thursday.

In all honesty, the whole team looked better even with the loss. The fourth line had a couple very memorable shifts, cycling low and establishing pressure. Joe Thornton’s line was clicking, which was clear from Kevin Labanc’s goal.

Gustav Nyquist was a solo standout – despite not finding the back of the net, he played a heck of a game and had some incredible looks. Of course, you can’t talk about this game without talking about Justin Braun scoring the big game-tying goal in the third frame, which was his first marker since December 2.

How did Aaron Dell do?

In all fairness, Dell gave the Sharks a chance to win for the majority of the game. No. 30 has looked good in his last couple of outings – save his relief effort against the Golden Knights earlier in the week when he had little defense to help him out – and he made a couple great saves in Anaheim as well, especially when the Ducks had a couple short-handed breakaways.

Unfortunately for Dell, he gave up the two power-play goals in the third frame. While Braun was the hero and scored the tying goal late in the third to help take the game into overtime, Dell still couldn’t hold down the fort in overtime. It doesn’t matter if he’s the backup or not – at this time of the season, playing too loose late in games isn’t good.