After two wins where the Sharks were able to sustain pressure against their opponents, it looked as though they could do it again on Friday night in Dallas.
No worries that the Stars tied the game up 1-1 in the second period, right? The Sharks showed over the previous two games they can keep their intensity up, and grind away.
Then, we saw a similar issue they've had in the past. After a strong, dominant first period, the Stars ended up being the ones who caught the breaks late in a 3-2 win over the Sharks on Friday.
“Small momentum swings we’re on the wrong side of,” coach Peter DeBoer called them.
After getting on the scoreboard first in Friday’s contest, the Sharks let the Stars push back in the second period. Then, Dallas entered the final 20 minutes so hot they scored two quick goals, and the Sharks found themselves trailing late in the game.
To say the momentum in a game is never going to sway back and forth is ridiculous. But for the Sharks, that swing ended up costing them their second game this season against the now-surging Stars.
Evander Kane, who tallied the Sharks’ first-period goal, didn’t mince words when he addressed the media regarding those swings in momentum.
“We’re getting too relaxed,” he summarized. “One-goal leads, two-goal leads … and teams are coming back on us because we aren’t finishing them off.”
He isn’t wrong. Although the Stars aren’t exactly an easy team to matchup with – DeBoer pointed out San Jose was prepared for Dallas to make a push in the second frame – the Sharks had their chances to build up more of a lead and limit the Stars’ damage on the scoreboard.
Ben Bishop does deserve some credit, though. He had a couple big saves in the first 20 minutes that could’ve allowed San Jose to go up 2-0.
With the game tied up 1-1 at the start of the third, the Sharks could’ve taken advantage of a power play and regained the lead. Instead, the power play lacked jump, and the Stars fed off of that as they notched two goals to give themselves a 3-1 lead.
“We’ve got to find a way in those tie games late going into the third period to win more than we lose,” Kane continued.
DeBoer told the media after the game he wasn’t happy with how the team looked at the start of the third period, but that he actually liked how the Sharks played overall – even after coughing up a lead.
“I didn’t think [Dallas] worked harder than us, I thought we played a pretty good road game,” DeBoer said. “If we play like we did tonight, and we keep building on that game, I think we’ll be fine. It’s just about sticking with it.”
Sticking with it means, of course, that those bouts of being too relaxed need to be fewer and farther between. Especially if the Sharks want those little momentum swings to go in their favor.
“We need to ramp up the intensity a little bit on the ice,” Kane said. “Right now, we’re losing more than we’re winning. Good teams win those games, so we’re going to have to change that.”