Sharks hope attention to detail 'part of their DNA' after big win vs. Devils

Sharks hope attention to detail 'part of their DNA' after big win vs. Devils

SAN JOSE – The Sharks knew Monday night’s game against the Devils wasn’t going to be easy. Even though New Jersey was entering the contest on the tail end of a back-to-back – and off a 6-5 shootout loss to Anaheim, at that – a second straight win would be no easy task.

“This is known as a trap game,” Logan Couture said afterward.

He isn’t wrong. San Jose’s schedule through the first third of the season has been grueling, and the plethora of road back-to-backs they’ve logged set them up to face adversity when the Devils came to town. Even though they would be playing on home ice, the miles they logged over the last few weeks set up a tough test against a struggling Devils squad.

Nevertheless, the Sharks found a way to grind out a 5-2 victory, giving them four wins in their last five games. It may only be a start, but they hope they are building positive momentum.

“I feel like we’re playing better,” Couture continued. “Tough stretch in that Dallas game aside, we could be on a good streak right now. We’ll stick with this and move on to Thursday.” 

[RELATED: Sharks look to take advantage of homestand after tough road schedule]

The Sharks could’ve been in deep trouble early in Monday’s contest, after they failed to register a shot on goal through the first 10 minutes. Then, they surrendered the first goal just a couple minutes later.

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer knew his team could’ve been at the mercy of New Jersey taking over the pace of the game at that point. But, instead of letting the Devils take control, the Sharks rallied behind Timo Meier’s game-tying marker off the rush and never looked back.

“Obviously, that could have led to a downturn and it didn’t,” DeBoer acknowledged. “We just kept working. It was a good effort tonight. I think our guys weren’t feeling 100 percent and we found a way to put in 60 minutes of work and get a win.”

Another big boost came from a better all-around defensive effort – something the Sharks have been saying they want to be better at for most of the early season. The stronger effort helped create offensive chances off the rush, helping to set up both of Timo Meier’s goals on the evening.

“I think our attention to detail tonight for sure was in a real good place defensively,” the coach complimented. “Our offense starts in our own end of the ice, with our breakouts or with our defensive coverage. It always leads to offense going the other way.”

Now, of course, the Sharks have to continue that pattern. They have two days before they host the Dallas Stars, a squad that has already beaten San Jose twice this year.

Carrying over all the little things they did right on Monday evening could be huge for the Sharks.

“I didn’t think we gave them a lot,” DeBoer said. “Hopefully we can make that part of our DNA here.”

NHL draft lottery: How Sharks will be impacted by league's new setup

NHL draft lottery: How Sharks will be impacted by league's new setup

Twenty-four NHL teams can now turn their full attention to the restarting of the currently-paused season. The Sharks are not one of them.

Having slipped into last place in the Western Conference just prior to the indefinite pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, San Jose did not qualify for the expanded postseason structure NHL commissioner Gary Bettman described Tuesday. The Sharks' season, as well as those of the Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres, are now over.

Which means, it's time to turn their attention to the offseason.

San Jose general manager Doug Wilson has his work cut out for him. The Sharks finished the abbreviated 2019-20 campaign with their worst points percentage in his 16-year tenure at the helm. There are some obvious needs that must be addressed. Of course, they won't be able to utilize their own first-round draft pick -- which they gave up in the trade to acquire Erik Karlsson -- in order to do so.

Bettman announced that the first phase of the 2020 NHL Draft lottery will be held on Friday, June 26, and really, there is no change as far as San Jose is concerned. As the team with the third-worst points percentage, the Sharks' first-round pick (owned by Ottawa) will have the same odds of landing first overall -- 11.5 percent -- as it would have anyway. Obviously, though, no matter where it ends up, the selection will belong to the Senators.

15 teams in total will be included in the lottery, which is the same as prior years. The seven teams that didn't qualify for the expanded playoffs will be joined by the eight teams that lose in the qualifying round. It's fairly complex, but as it relates to the Sharks, their first-round pick automatically will fall within the top six overall selections. Ottawa's own first-round pick is guaranteed to fall within the top five, and combined with San Jose's first-rounder, there is a great chance the Senators will have two picks in the top five, if not the top three.

That's tremendous for Ottawa, and might make things look even bleaker for the Sharks. But, the fact of the matter is, we've known San Jose wouldn't have its own first-rounder for quite some time now, and more importantly, it was the right decision to make. Hindsight is 20/20 and it's easy to question it now, but players like Karlsson are not a dime a dozen. He is on the shortlist of the best defensemen in the NHL, and the package San Jose gave up for him -- even including the 2020 first-rounder -- absolutely was worth it. You make that trade 100 times out of 100, and the same goes for the extension, too.

So, yes, the Sharks likely will miss out on a chance to acquire one of the top overall talents in the upcoming draft, but that can't be viewed in a vacuum. Not to mention, San Jose actually does own a first-round pick in the draft, which they acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Barclay Goodrow at the trade deadline. 

[RELATED: What you need to know as Sharks' long offseason begins]

The Lightning had the second-best points percentage in the Eastern Conference when the season was paused, so it is impossible that their first-round selection will fall within the first 15 overall picks, as they're not subject to the qualifying round. The earlier Tampa Bay gets eliminated, however, the earlier their first-rounder -- owned by the Sharks -- will fall in the first round.

So, Sharks fans, rather than waste energy lamenting the first-rounder San Jose doesn't have, google Karlsson highlights and root against the Lightning. That ought to make you feel a little better.

Vegas Knights troll Sharks, LA Kings after making 2019-20 NHL playoffs

Vegas Knights troll Sharks, LA Kings after making 2019-20 NHL playoffs

You don't kick a team when they are down.

Clearly, the Vegas Golden Knights didn't get that memo.

During the NHL's Return To Play announcement Tuesday, the Golden Knights sent out a tweet directed at the Sharks and Los Angeles Kings, two of their Pacific Division rivals.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said that 24 of the 31 teams will qualify for the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. Seven teams, including the Sharks and Kings, will not resume playing and will prepare for the NHL draft lottery and the 2020-21 season.

When the NHL was paused on March 12 due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the Sharks held the worst record in the Western Conference.

Adding insult to injury, the Sharks won't even get to keep their lottery draft pick as it will go to the Ottawa Senators as part of the Erik Karlsson trade.

[RELATED: What's next for Sharks?]

While the Sharks and Kings sit at home, Vegas will be one of the top four seeds in the Western Conference, and will play in a round-robin tournament with the St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars to determine seeding.

Sharks fans didn't need another reason to root against the Golden Knights, but Vegas gave it to them.