Sharks can't overcome Flames, clerical error: 'Just couldn’t finish it off'

Sharks can't overcome Flames, clerical error: 'Just couldn’t finish it off'

CALGARY – The Sharks were already shorthanded on their blue line headed into Wednesday’s game in Calgary. Paul Martin was unable to go for unspecified reasons, Dylan DeMelo suffered a wrist injury in Edmonton on Tuesday that will keep him out for weeks, and David Schlemko is still on the shelf with an upper body injury.

But a mix up on the official lineup sheet that gets filled out by the coaching staff before every game further complicated matters. 

Pete DeBoer and staff thought Martin would be able to play after he took warmups, and left him in the lineup while leaving off Mirco Mueller. When Martin was unable to go, the Sharks trotted out Mueller instead.

Only problem was the official scorers never got word, making Mueller ineligible. When they saw number 41 line up with Brent Burns in the first period they tossed him from the game six-and-a-half minutes in, after a long stretch of play with no whistles. The Sharks were down to five defensemen, one of which was rookie Tim Heed, making his NHL debut.

DeBoer took responsibility for the faux pas. 

“That’s on us, the coaches,” he said after the game. “We have some checks and balances on our lineup, and went into warmup and we felt [Martin] could play. There was some last minute movement there obviously, and he didn’t play. Just got left out. 

“Feel badly. Apologized to Mirco, it’s not a good spot to put him in. I thought the other guys did a good job.”

The Sharks did, in fact, play admirably, considering those unforeseen circumstances and that they were playing the second of a back-to-back. But after failing to build on a 2-1 lead despite outplaying the Flames for much of the night, Dougie Hamilton’s wrist shot from a bad angle with just 2:19 to go pushed the Flames to a 3-2 win.

Aaron Dell, making his first start against a Western Conference team, called playing at the Saddledome a “dream come true” after he grew up nearby and had more than a dozen friends and family in the stands. Still, he was disappointed with himself on the Hamilton goal, which he didn’t track off of the defenseman’s stick due to a few bodies in front of him.

“I saw it kind of late and it just kind of snuck through, but at the time of that game I have to make that save,” Dell said.

DeBoer said Dell “was alright. This is a tough building. Tough one on the last one, but they had some traffic on two of the goals. … He gave us a chance to hang around.”

The difference in the game from the head coach’s perspective was that the Sharks never increased their 2-1 lead after the first period after goals by Logan Couture (power play) and Burns. They had a number of chances, and even after the Flames tied it late in the second period on a power play, Mikkel Boedker had an opportunity to play hero for the second straight night when he was awarded a penalty shot with 5:27 to go in a 2-2 game.

Boedker, who had a hat trick on Tuesday night, failed to slip it through Chad Johnson’s five hole.

Remarkably, he got another try in the closing seconds with the Sharks down 3-2. He raced ahead untouched on another breakaway and this time he got the puck through Johnson, only to see the goalie get just enough of it after it had trickled behind him to keep it out.

“The last one there with [eight] seconds left, it went through [Johnson] and hit him and went wide,” Boedker said. “It’s good to [get] those opportunities, and getting those chances is what you want as a player. But, a different outcome would have been nice.”

Whether the outcome would have been different without the clerical error by the coaching staff will never be known, but the Sharks players weren’t making a fuss over the matter.

“That stuff is small,” Burns said. “Everybody gets to play more. You’re in the game. It’s not a big deal.”

Boedker said: “Our five [defensemen] today did a great job. I thought as a whole team we did a pretty good job. We just couldn’t finish it off.”

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


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.