SAN JOSE -- It's probably safe to say that Wednesday's game against the Jets wasn't representative of how the Sharks have been playing as of late. That explains why it felt like a letdown.
Despite jumping out to a 1-0 lead halfway through the first period, San Jose had trouble matching Winnipeg's energy for the bulk of the game. Even with a couple of confident spurts, the Sharks just didn't have the same jump that they've had throughout their successful November stretch.
Nobody on Team Teal is going to make excuses, even after a 5-1 loss. But with a packed schedule and the team still making up for the fact that it's missing Tomas Hertl up front, one wonders if the cumulative effect is taking its toll.
"We've got a lot of hockey left to play here over the next two to three weeks so I really hope it's not fatigue," head coach Peter DeBoer said of San Jose's performance. "But if it is, we've got to rebound because you get what you earn in this league usually, and we didn't do enough to win a game tonight."
"We just weren't good enough," Logan Couture said of Wednesday's effort. "I think the power play sucked the life out of us and we didn't have any emotion in the game. We weren't hard enough in the first period, started off with the lead but I didn't think we had our best tonight."
The power play certainly was an issue for San Jose as it went 0-for-5 with the man advantage against the Jets. Since the Sharks have been playing so well at even strength as of late, the lack of power-play scoring hasn't seemed like as big of an issue. But on Wednesday, none of the Sharks weapons -- at five-on-five or on special teams -- were working properly.
"I think 'lifeless' was the best word across the board," DeBoer summarized. "Five-on-five, power play, penalty kill."
It didn't help matters that Winnipeg goaltender Connor Hellebuyck put on another amazing performance for the second time in San Jose this season. It wasn't quite the 51-save effort he posted on Nov. 1, but he still held the Sharks to a single goal and had more than enough offense in front of him for support.
"Hellebuyck always plays well in here," DeBoer said. "If we get a goal early or maybe not playing from behind all night -- but he didn't give us the opportunity to get engaged in the game that way and we didn't have a response."
With Wednesday's game kicking off a stretch of three games in four nights, the Sharks don't have time to dwell on their second loss to the Jets or the fact that they had trouble creating energy at any part of the game. All that matters now is getting back to what has made them successful throughout the month of November: finding different ways to win games.
"I don't have an answer to why we didn't have as much energy as we needed to tonight, and even on the nights you don't, these are the nights when you're winning that your goalie steals you a game, your power play wins you a game," DeBoer said. "We didn't have anything going tonight."