Sharks focused on capitalizing on opportunities after loss to Sabres

Sharks focused on capitalizing on opportunities after loss to Sabres

The Sharks were, of course, not pleased they weren’t able to snap the Sabres' winning streak during their visit to Buffalo. The team acknowledged afterwards that the game had some positives. Heck, rallying to tie it up late in the third period certainly made things interesting -- especially since San Jose hadn’t scored a goal on the road in 183:43 minutes.

Now, after falling to the Sabres 3-2 in overtime, the Sharks identify they need to not just create good scoring chances, but follow through and capitalize on them.

“I thought there were some chances we didn’t capitalize on early,” Evander Kane told the media after the loss, then added: “But it was a great effort to come back and tie the game and give ourselves a shot.”

Brent Burns agreed. “I think we had some chances,” the defenseman said. “[Buffalo] just ended up with one more.”

It literally was just one more chance that made the difference in Tuesday’s contest. San Jose and Buffalo played a tight back-and-forth game for the better part of 60 minutes, with the Sabres making more of a push in the second period and the Sharks responding in the latter part of the third. Buffalo kept up with San Jose on the shot clock, only being outdone 38-31 by the end of the game. The Sharks blocked seven shots to the Sabres' five and won 55 percent of the faceoffs on the evening. With both goaltenders making big saves at their respective ends of the ice, neither team was able to run away with the game. 

“It felt like there was not a lot out there for both sides,” Burns observed.

It was that one opportunity though, created by Buffalo’s Jeff Skinner in overtime, that gave the Sabres the victory.

Not that San Jose is going to completely dismiss their late-game push, or neglect applauding finding the back of the net after previously having trouble scoring on the road. Joe Pavelski notching both of San Jose’s third period markers certainly helped give the Sharks a boost.

“There are obviously going to be times where goals are tough to come by,” San Jose netminder Martin Jones said. “So, to get a couple late in the game tonight and grab a point tonight was big.”

So, how do the Sharks improve on Tuesday’s effort? 

“We need to do a little better job of getting a little more traffic in front of the net,” Kane said. “We had some good looks that we didn’t finish and that was unfortunate.”

The Sharks will get an immediate opportunity to capitalize on more chances, as they play again on Wednesday. While the competition will be steep – they’re playing the Maple Leafs in Toronto on the tail end of a back-to-back – the Sharks already know what they want to do better to improve on their game against the Sabres.

NHL All-Star Skills Competition live stream: How to watch event online


NHL All-Star Skills Competition live stream: How to watch event online

It's time to see who's got the skills in the NHL.

That's right, All-Star weekend officially is here and the NHL's best will descend on Scottrade Center and see who's got the goods.

The fun starts Friday with the All-Star Skills Competition as the league's best compete in a variety of events such as Fastest Skater, Save Streak and Accuracy Shooting where Sharks All-Star Tomas Hertl will try and get the W.

It should be a lot of fun.

[RELATED: Hertl honored to be All-Star, not giving up on Sharks]

Here's how to watch the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills Competition online.

When: Friday, Jan. 24, at 5 p.m. PT (coverage starts at 3:30 p.m.)
Live Stream: NBC Sports

All-Star Tomas Hertl doing best to keep Sharks' spirits up through struggles

All-Star Tomas Hertl doing best to keep Sharks' spirits up through struggles

Sharks forward Tomas Hertl is all set for his debut at NHL All-Star Weekend in St. Louis.
“A huge accomplishment, it will be a big honor for me,” Hertl -- who is taking the place of injured San Jose captain Logan Couture -- recently said.
While he is on pace for a good statistical season, it's nothing like last year when Hertl potted 35 goals and 74 points.
This time around, the fun-loving forward is on a Sharks club that’s looking like a longshot to qualify for the playoffs.
“I still try to be positive, the smiley guy, the funny guy,” Hertl explained.
He also acknowledged those smiles and uplifting moments have been few and far between this season, but they are still significantly better than the alternative.
“It’s the only way I think to help it,” Hertl stated. “It gets too much in your head. Everybody will be in a bad mood. I try my best to bring it every day, a good mood in the locker room.”
There are widespread assessments as to what's at the root of the Sharks' struggles this season. For Hertl, it’s the defensive failures that bleed over into trying to create too much.
“When we start cheating, we just can’t do it,” Hertl said. “Maybe on other teams, they have different players. On our team, it has to start with defense.
“I think we’ve proven it over the last lot of years. There’s always the stat of ‘two-or-fewer’ goals, we always win those games. We know that and we've always been the team that’s tough against.”

[RELATED: Key storylines to watch through remainder of Sharks' season]
While Hertl’s second NHL season saw San Jose’s rare miss of the postseason, he has never been with the club in a year like this where things already look so bleak entering the All-Star break.
“We have to step it up, and just play together," he said. "Because only the team together can win the games.”