For the second night in a row, the Sharks found themselves trailing their opponent in the second period. This time around, however, there was no come-from-behind push to tie the game and keep San Jose’s hopes alive.
The Sharks couldn’t find their footing against the St. Louis Blues Friday evening, and dropped the second game of their road back-to-back, 4-0. Aaron Dell put up a fight making some big saves for San Jose right down until the final buzzer, but the defensive effort in-front of him sealed the Sharks’ fate while Blues netminder Chad Johnson pitched the shutout.
Here are three takeaways from Friday’s game:
Communication breakdown on defense
Outside of Tim Heed looking confident in his first NHL game of the season, San Jose’s defense had a very rough outing on Friday evening. It wasn’t just the defensemen themselves – the whole lineup was on their heels and was regularly hemmed in their own zone. The Sharks looked as though they weren’t communicating effectively on the ice, and the puck often ended up in the back of their net, particularly against that red-hot combo of Jaden Schwartz, Ryan O'Reilly, and Vladimir Tarasenko.
When O’Reilly scored his goal in the second period, the Sharks' dominant Logan Couture-led line looked like it was trying to get organized on one side of San Jose’s net while the Blues’ forward put himself in position to score away from them.
The special teams were lopsided
If there was one thing the Sharks got right, it was their penalty kill, which held the Blues scoreless on the man advantage. Their power play wasn’t on the same level, though, and they were unable to capitalize on the three opportunities they had on the evening, almost giving up a short-handed opportunity to Tyler Bozak halfway through the third period.
We’ve talked before about the Sharks giving up too many big chances. One way to do that is, of course, to capitalize on their own. Even when the Sharks tried to make more of a push in the final stanza, they weren’t able to take advantage.
On that note …
That third-period magic wasn’t there tonight
The Sharks have shown this season they can make a push and get back into a game when they’re trailing on the scoreboard. While they liked that push, a few players mentioned previously they didn’t want to let the other team get into a game or put them in a hole to begin with.
San Jose went out into the third period Friday night grinding, with a line consisting of Evander Kane, Antti Suomela, and Joonas Donskoi gaining more momentum and challenging Blues netminder Chad Johnson. But that push wasn’t enough to mount a comeback. It’s clear the Sharks can’t keep waiting for something bad to happen before they make a big push, especially when it comes down to the wire in the third period.