A loss is a loss, but a loss with a point attached to it softens the blow a little bit.
The Sharks lost 3-2 in a shootout to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night, ending a five-game homestand at SAP Center in which they went 2-2-1.
Still missing many key players, and coach Bob Boughner due to COVID-19 protocol, the Sharks view their homestand as an overall net positive given the circumstances. Despite the loss Saturday night, the Sharks gained a point, which in the NHL, could be a deciding factor in a late-season playoff push.
“I thought overall we played a really strong game," assistant coach John MacLean told reporters postgame. "We did a lot of good things, I liked how we played overall. It’s always disappointing to lose, but I'm quite happy with the effort and the commitment the players made. To get a point, we’ll take it right now. You never know, it might be a handy point down the road. You gotta take them and move on.”
In addition to the point gained with the loss, the Sharks maintained a positive outlook because of how they played against the Devils on Saturday night, which has been their blueprint for success that they've been chasing this season.
“I thought we had a great homestand," Sharks defensemen Mario Ferraro said postgame. "I thought we battled a lot with a lot of adversity, having a lot of our guys out due to COVID. Tonight was unfortunate, we wanted to get that extra point, but it happens. Both the way we played and the things we did well and the things we can improve on, I thought there was a lot more positives than negatives. I think it will really bounce in our favor when we get a healthy lineup."
"I thought we played a pretty solid game from start to finish," Sharks goalie James Reimer added. "Unfortunately, we had those bounces there at the end. A shoot-out is a shoot-out, it’s a wild circumstance. But I thought we played well, and we can go to bed tonight feeling good about ourselves in the sense that we played the right way. You play that way and more often than not you come away with two points.”
Another positive takeaway from the loss was Jonathan Dahlen's go-ahead goal in the third period that (momentarily) gave the Sharks the lead. Dahlen's goal ties him for the most among rookies this season with five.
Even Dahlen himself is surprised by how much he has been able to produce so far in his rookie season.
“Yeah, I'm surprised," Dahlen told reporters. "Right now I'm pretty pissed though. I want to win hockey games. But it’s all credit to my linemates and everybody around me who is making it easy on me. Obviously I wasn't expecting this and I'm playing with great players and they’re helping me out a lot. All credit to them, but it was tough to lose.”
The Sharks will begin a gauntlet of a five game road trip starting Tuesday against the Calgary Flames (7-1-3) before facing off against the Winnipeg Jets (6-3-2), Colorado Avalanche (4-5-1), Minnesota Wild (7-3-0) and St. Louis Blues (7-1-1).
“It’s a tough road trip, but if we follow our system and keep working hard, I think we can out-work some of those teams and get a couple wins," Dahlen said. "We’re going to go to all those places and try to win, that’s what we’re going to do.”