SAN JOSE – On paper, the Sharks’ problems over their six-game losing streak may appear easy to fix – especially since they had previously won six games in a row and were sitting atop the Western Conference standings just before the slide.
But according to forward Logan Couture, things are more complex than that.
“If it was easily fixable, we wouldn’t be on a six-game losing streak,” he told the media matter-of-a-factly following Team Teal’s 3-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. “We’ve got to fix it. There are certain things that we need to do better.”
From not having enough jump from the drop of the puck to giving up too many breakaway opportunities, the Sharks look like a very different team than they did a couple of weeks ago. The loss to Detroit is the third consecutive game the Sharks have been beaten by a team out of playoff contention. While the team is obviously banged up and trying to get healthy before the playoffs, the current dip in their performance can’t continue.
“We’re too good of a team to go on a slide like this,” Couture said. “These losses at home are not good, especially this one tonight. I thought we’d come with a better effort.”
San Jose did put up a fight late in the game, finding the back of the net twice to cut Detroit’s 3-0 lead to 3-2. It was an effort Sharks’ head coach Peter DeBoer wanted to see much earlier in the contest.
“I didn’t think we had great energy until the third period,” he said. “I thought we had desperation in the third that we needed for 60 minutes. We only came with 20 of it.”
Detroit, on the other hand, was able to capitalize on its breakaway opportunities right from the first shift of the game. Dylan Larkin got the Red Wings on the board just 38-seconds into the contest.
“We gave them way too much respect. We sat back too much,” Evander Kane summarized. “We’ve got to get there first, we’ve got to get there quicker.”
Since this is the longest losing streak the Sharks have been on this season, the press asked DeBoer if there was a mental component creeping into the team’s game. To DeBoer, no matter what it is, the team can only grind out of it.
“I don’t know if it’s mental,” he admitted. “It’s work. It’s desperation. I don’t know if there’s a complacency about where we’re sitting in the standings or what. But, we’ve got to get out of it. And the only way to get out of it is to work out of it.”
They have precisely six games left in the regular season to get that work in.
“If you’re going to go through something like this you’re better off doing it now than in two weeks,” DeBoer said. “But we’ve got to get healthy and guys have to get to another level here. It’s that time of year.”