The Sharks were handed a golden opportunity to come from behind against the Red Wings but fell flat on their faces.
Losing to Detroit 6-2 Tuesday night at Little Caesars Arena, San Jose dug itself in an early 3-0 hole, only to squander a golden opportunity to make up ground with a five-minute power play that resulted in two goals... for the opposite team.
"You can’t go down 3-0 when you’ve got a five-minute power play," Coach Bob Boughner told reporters postgame "That’s your chance to make a difference in the game, set the tone, get the game back to even, even if they got a lucky bounce on the first one. The opposite happened and give any team in this league a 3-0 lead and you’re in trouble.”
According to NBC Sports Bay Area Sharks Statistician Darin Stephens, the last time San Jose surrendered two shorthanded goals on the same power play was a game on Nov. 25, 2009, against the Chicago Blackhawks. It's a rare feat and a humiliating one at that.
“It’s tough because I know we were pretty good the first 20 minutes," Tomas Hertl said postgame. "They got an unlucky goal and you go in the second and we’ve got a four-man power play and (you expect) to change the momentum of the game and you showed up like that. They get two goals, that’s just … I don’t know what to say, it’s just embarrassing.”
“Obviously you want to score a couple goals on a power play, not give up some," goalie James Reimer added. "It’s unfortunate. As a goalie, you want to come up with the save there for your team and unfortunately, that’s not the case.”
Unfortunately for the Sharks, they are without one of their best offensive weapons in Logan Couture and Mario Ferraro who are both in the NHL's COVID-19 protocol.
Because Tuesday night's loss was so ugly, the Sharks couldn't even use the shorthanded excuse even if they wanted to.
"Obviously those guys are leaders and heart-and-soul guys," Reimer said. "But at the end of the day, it shouldn’t change how we play and the way we execute. If we were losing 2-1 then we could say that it would be nice to have [Logan Couture’s] scoring ability. Maybe we can use that as an excuse but we obviously couldn’t even if that was the case.”
The fact of the matter is that the Sharks are not the only team in the NHL -- and all of professional sports -- who are dealing with this issue. In times like these, there are no excuses, just creative solutions. The Sharks are not one of the league's elite teams, they do not have the luxury of not missing a beat when faced with adversity.
“If you look around there’s some teams that are sputtering in the West," Bougher said postgame. "Edmonton, Minnesota, us, I think it’s a tough part of the season where you’ve gotta dig in, gotta find different ways to win. A lot of teams are dealing with guys in and out of their lineup with COVID and we’re no different. We’ve gotta come together and that’s the coach's job and the leader’s job in the room to settle the ship and get out of this.
"Some teams can lose three or four players and they don’t miss a beat and they’re elite teams. We’re not and that means we all have to come together and try and find a little more, play a little smarter and a little harder and that didn’t happen."
The Sharks will travel to Buffalo to face off against the Sabres on Thursday, and then to Philadelphia to face the Flyers on Saturday before returning home for a four-game homestand.