SAN JOSE -- Between being shut out by the Blues eight days ago and dropping a 5-3 decision to the Maple Leafs on Thursday, the Sharks desperately needed a bounce-back performance Saturday night.
They did just that, shutting out the Blues 4-0.
“To have this game tonight was important for us, and it shows character in this room,” Erik Karlsson said. “I think for 60 minutes we played a well-played game.”
It was a game that featured many of the things the Sharks are typically known for — a strong defensive front in front of a strong goalie outing, with a little offensive firepower to lead the way.
“Tonight was kind of classic Sharks hockey,” Joe Pavelski said. “That was what we were striving for.”
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The biggest improvement Saturday night over San Jose’s previous few games was that the team tightened things up and had better control over the puck. The odd-man rushes that have plagued the Sharks and cost them leads in games were not an issue as they kept St. Louis from finding the back of the net.
“We didn’t give them a lot off the rush tonight, which was one of the things we were trying to do,” Pavelski noted, adding that San Jose generated its offense by “being smart” this time around.
When the Blues looked as though they might get back into the game and make things interesting, netminder Aaron Dell stood tall to make the big saves.
“I thought our attention to detail was much better,” coach Peter DeBoer explained. “We were playing a little Russian roulette lately and losing. So, (the players) got the attention to detail of our game, which we’ve taken pride in here over the years, back in the right place.”
Maintaining that attention to detail could end up being just what the Sharks need to really create some space between themselves and their Pacific Division opponents.
Team Teal finishes its six-game homestand this week against the Edmonton Oilers and the Vancouver Canucks. Both teams had been riding hot streaks and had more points on the young season than San Jose. But now, both have taken a tumble — heck, as of Saturday, Vancouver had lost five in a row. So, if the Sharks can continue playing in the detail-oriented manner they did Saturday, they could build some serious momentum headed into the end of the calendar year.
“Tonight was a good bounce-back game for us,” Pavelski said. “The big challenge for us now is to continue with that.”