If you woke up and thought your New Year’s hangover was bad, you’ve got nothing on the San Jose Sharks.
They wrapped up 2017 as poorly as possible, losing by a touchdown and a missed extra point to the Dallas Stars in the first stop on a six-game road trip. The good news, at least, is that there’s nowhere to go but up, both in the new year and on the remainder of their trip.
Yes, the loss was that bad.
They not only never led, but the game was so lopsided the Sharks took their first penalty two minutes before they attempted their first shot. Only three players (Mikkel Boedker, a now-healthy Logan Couture, and Tomas Hertl) ended the game with a zero in the plus/minus column.
It was also, literally, one of the worst losses in franchise history,
New Year’s Eve marked the 11th time San Jose was shut out and allowed six or more goals, and the first in nine years. Five of those happened in the franchise’s first two seasons, when the Sharks lost 129 games, 36 more than the next closest team.
In other words, not exactly elite company.
That’s not to say this Sharks team is doomed to repeat the sins of their expansion-era forefathers. They’re not without flaws (their New Year’s resolutions should be centered on scoring more at even strength), of course. But San Jose is, at worst, a Wild Card team, and could be much more, even though they’ll probably need good fortune along the way.
Like many of the people ringing in the New Year with a ringing headache and fuzzy memories, the Sharks just had “one of those nights.”
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer essentially said as much after the game, when he was asked if he was concerned about the team’s record on the road (8-6-2) as opposed to SAP Center.
“I don’t look at this like we’ve been a poor road team,” DeBoer told reporters on Sunday. “This was a poor game tonight.”
“I don’t think it’s a symptom of something bigger, it was just a bad night.”
One bad night won’t automatically doom San Jose on this road trip. The Sharks will need a better start, and better discipline, when they play the Canadiens in Montreal on Tuesday. It’s fair to expect just that, as they’ve lost consecutive road games just once this season.
The hangover doesn’t have to last longer than New Year’s Day, after all.