Sharks' lack of killer instinct shows there's still work to be done

Sharks' lack of killer instinct shows there's still work to be done

The Sharks essentially played two games on Thursday night. 

The first took place within the first period of play against the visiting Wild, as San Jose dominated Minnesota and skated into the intermission with a convincing 4-0 lead. But the second was a complete 180-degree turn that took place over the next two periods, in which the Sharks nearly lost control of the game.

The Sharks held on to win, 6-5. But even with two straight victories, this team is aware that their early-season woes aren't completely in the rearview mirror. The ability to play a dominant 60-minute game is still a work in progress.

"I think anyone who was a part of or watched that game [knows] there's a lot of work to be done," Logan Couture said to reporters following the win. 

Tomas Hertl agreed. "If we start like that, we have to play a whole 60 minutes," he added, "and don't even give them a chance to score. Just play the right way. We need it right now, every point."

Keep in mind, these comments are coming from a captain who tallied four points on the evening and an alternate captain who notched three. They're not tooting their horns after that close call of a contest. They want to be much, much better.

And Hertl is correct. If the Sharks are going to start a game with a 4-0 lead, they can't spend the next 40 minutes getting outscored 5-2. For that to happen, a team has to do a lot of things wrong after such a stellar beginning.

Couture could list all of them. "We didn't forecheck. We didn't sustain time in their end. Kind of got back to what we were doing at the start [of the season] where it seemed like we were waiting for a power play to get chances and score goals. And it did luckily, those two power-play goals at the end of the second. But just no o-zone time and just sloppy, sloppy play."

While the Sharks did get those two power-play markers in the second stanza, they also took four penalties. For a team that is battling to establish a better even-strength game, San Jose is still spending too much time in the box.

Who knows what got into the Sharks between the first and second periods. But they absolutely let their tally on the scoreboard dictate how they started the next frame -- and it resulted in Minnesota making a push.

"Sometimes, when you score four, you think everything will be easy," Hertl admitted. "But we still have to look at some details. Why they're scoring so easily after that."

Now, obviously, San Jose will take the two points and improve to 2-2-0 on the current six-game homestand. As Hertl said, the Sharks need every point they can get in order to dig out of the deep hole they put themselves in at the start of the season.

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But if you're one of those fans that was cringing at the end of Thursday's game, you aren't alone. The Sharks will take the victory, but they still have to work on playing that full 60-minute game.

"We found a way to win this game," Timo Meier said. "But it wasn't pretty at the end." 

NHL rumors: Sharks' Brenden Dillon of interest to Bruins, 'half dozen' teams


NHL rumors: Sharks' Brenden Dillon of interest to Bruins, 'half dozen' teams

The market for Brenden Dillon is heating up. It's sounding like more of a "when" rather than an "if" the Sharks' defenseman will be moved.

In a season where very little has gone right for San Jose, Dillon has been one of the few, consistent bright spots. He has appeared in every game while averaging over 19 minutes of ice time, and he leads all Sharks' defensemen in plus-minus. According to TSN Insiders Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun, the closer the NHL gets to the trade deadline, the more teams reportedly are inquiring about the blue-liner who is on pace to lead the Sharks in hits for the fourth straight season. 

"Most definitely the Winnipeg Jets are in the market for a specific top-four defenseman," Dreger reported Tuesday. "Now, it could be a rental player, it could be a player with some term. They're not ruling out anything at this point."

Dillon is in the final year of his contract and is due to hit unrestricted free agency this summer, so he would fall into the rental category. Given the price Dillon is likely to command, that might not be ideal for Winnipeg, but Dreger noted that the Dustin Byfuglien situation -- as well as Bryan Little and Adam Lowry's respective recoveries from injury -- could force the Jets' hand.

LeBrun agreed that Dillon would make plenty of sense for Winnipeg, but didn't stop there.

"I don't think he would be on the top of their list, but certainly on the list of players that the Jets would have compiled already, I think Brenden Dillon would be on there somewhere," LeBrun said. "Pending UFA, he's a defenseman that's going to be dealt by the San Jose Sharks. He's a No. 4 for some teams, a No. 5 for others. I can tell you half-a-dozen teams so far have shown interest, including, I'm told, the Boston Bruins. Obviously a rugged, defensive defenseman in Brenden Dillon would be a nice fit there in Boston. Carolina Hurricanes, who just lost Dougie Hamilton, have also been among the teams that have shown interest." 

"It will not be an issue moving Brenden Dillon," LeBrun summarized. "The question is what can San Jose get out of it? I think it's probably going to be a second-round pick, and maybe a prospect."

[RELATED: If Sharks' Marleau doesn't pick goal song, his wife will]

The Sharks are still holding out hope for a playoff push, but whether or not they are successful in that pursuit, Dillon might be of more value to them elsewhere.

Why Patrick Marleau's goal song didn't play in Sharks' win over Ducks


Why Patrick Marleau's goal song didn't play in Sharks' win over Ducks

SAN JOSE -- The Sharks are ready to spice up their goal celebrations. In a 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night, San Jose brought the heat, but the SAP Center DJ failed to bring the expected flavor.

It wasn't his or her fault, though. It's sort of hard to play the right song when there is no song to be played.

Before being robbed of a much-deserved All-Star Game MVP award over the weekend in St. Louis, Tomas Hertl broke the news to Sharks fans that he and his fellow teammates would each have their own goal songs when the team returned from the All-Star break. Each player's song was supposed to be kept a surprise until they scored a goal, so when Stefan Noesen lit the lamp less than two minutes into the game Monday night, it came as a surprise to many -- Noesen included -- when the team's default goal song came on over the loudspeakers.

A few minutes later, Patrick Marleau scored to make it 2-0 San Jose. Again, 2 Unlimited's "Get Ready for This" played. In the second period, Marleau scored his second goal of the night. Same thing. So what gave?

It turns out that it was part operator error, part old-fashioned procrastination.

Noesen had actually picked a song out, and lucky for the Sharks, the SAP Center crowd would get to hear it before the night was over. Marleau, on the other hand, is still deliberating.

"Still working it out to see what it is," Marleau said of his yet-to-be-decided goal song after San Jose's win. "Probably leave it up to my family. They'll pick it."

Last week, Marleau's wife took to Twitter to ask Sharks fans for suggestions as to what his goal song should be. Apparently, none were to his liking, but his better half won't allow him to go without one for much longer.

After he scored his first goal of the night, Marleau's wife threatened to choose "Wheels on the Bus" on his behalf if he didn't figure one out soon. The couple has four boys between the ages of 5 and 13 so one would imagine Marleau has heard plenty of that song over the last decade.

Chances are, he has heard plenty of Noesen's song, too.

Early in the third period, Noesen ripped a slapshot from the slot into the back of Anaheim's net after receiving what he called an "all-world" pass from Erik Karlsson. The goal increased San Jose's lead to 4-1, and as fans rose out of their seats to celebrate the goal that put the game out of reach, their ears were greeted by the unmistakable sounds of "Hakuna Matata."

"I had something else picked out and then somebody else was watching 'The Lion King,' and I thought that would be kind of funny to put on and maybe get a little reaction from the crowd, too," Noesen said of his song choice. "And they seemed to enjoy it. It was fun."

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While Marleau still needs to come to a decision, Noesen plans to stick with his.

"Yeah, unless someone tells me otherwise," he said with a laugh following his first two-goal game with San Jose. "I thought it was good. They messed it up on the first one, and I wasn't sure if I'd ever have another chance to hear it.

"It was a good thing I got that nice pass."