Sharks

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 4-1 win over struggling Senators

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 4-1 win over struggling Senators

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SAN JOSE – It may not have been the Sharks' most exciting game. Nor was it their prettiest, for that matter.

But San Jose held on to get the job done against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night, skating away with a 4-1 victory and extending their season-long winning streak to six games.

Here are three takeaways from Saturday’s game: 

Martin Jones picked up right where he left off

The Sharks’ starting netminder picked up right where he left off the other night in Las Vegas. The Senators had a couple of good looks with skaters at the doorstep, but Jones expertly stood on his head to keep Ottawa from finding the back of the net through the first 40 minutes of play.

Jones also stood his ground when the Sens had a couple breakaway opportunities – something the Sharks struggled with stopping earlier in the season. His biggest highlight of the first period was when he stopped Mark Stone on a breakaway that could’ve easily put Ottawa on the board first.

The Sharks narrowly escaped ‘the trap’

There was talk ahead of Saturday’s contest it could be a trap game for San Jose after their emotional, high-octane win over the Golden Knights on Thursday. Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said at Saturday morning’s practice he was hoping the victory over Vegas would motivate the team.

While San Jose didn’t look particularly peppy in the first period, they helped to back Jones up enough to keep the Senators from getting on the board through the majority of the game. You have to give Ottawa some credit, though. They had a couple good chances before they got on the board in the third frame. 

San Jose did get a little jump-start towards the end of the second stanza when captain Joe Pavelski opened up scoring.

The PK got the job done

The special-teams battle between San Jose and Ottawa was incredibly lopsided. In fact, the Sharks didn’t get a power play on the evening until the third period was more than half-way over – and it wasn’t one of their better-looking attempts on the man advantage, either. 

Lucky enough for the Sharks, their penalty kill was its dominant self and kept the Senators from making the game interesting. Another tip of the hat to Jones, who froze former teammate Mikkel Boedker on a power-play chance in the third period that might’ve tied the game up 2-2.

'Concerned' Sharks can't look too far into future after loss to Vegas

'Concerned' Sharks can't look too far into future after loss to Vegas

SAN JOSE – Monday night’s contest between the Sharks and Golden Knights was billed as a potential playoff preview. So naturally, when San Jose lost 7-3, there were questions as to how concerned the team was about possibly having to play Vegas in the first round.

But the team was adamant they shouldn’t be looking too far into the future. They believe they need to stay focused on the games at hand, and fix the things that led them to drop three contests in a row – not on who they may play in the postseason.

“You can’t think about that,” Justin Braun said. “You can’t be worried about what you’re doing three weeks from now. You need to get points now.”

Bench boss Peter DeBoer agreed, telling the media afterward that no matchup is necessarily more ideal than another. 

“I don’t think there’s going to be an easy match,” DeBoer admitted. “I don’t think anyone wants to play (Arizona) the way they’re playing now or Dallas or whoever ends up in there. It doesn’t matter once you get in. Everybody you play is going to be a very good and a very good test. So we’re just going to try and win as many games as we can and whoever we get we’ll show up and be ready to play.”

Winning games now means cleaning a few things up on San Jose’s end. They haven’t been happy with how they’ve played in their last three contests, from not having enough energy on one night to making too many mistakes the next.

“I’m concerned, we haven’t played well,” Logan Couture said. “We’re giving up too many chances, too many goals. We’re giving up odd-man rushes. Every time we give them an opportunity like that they’re going to put it in the back of our net.”

Which was primarily the story of Monday’s game against the Golden Knights. The Sharks made too many small mistakes, from turning pucks over in the neutral zone to making too many trips to the penalty box. Couture went so far as to say the Sharks “handed them goals tonight.”

“Some lessons learned tonight that you can’t chase the game, or if you do get behind in a game against that team you’ve got to handle it with a little more composure," DeBoer said. "We knew that, but we shot ourselves in the foot.”

The only thing left to do now is take what went wrong against Vegas and turn it around – particularly on San Jose’s upcoming two-game road trip against the Kings and Ducks down in Southern California.

“It doesn’t matter what happened in the past, you’ve got to keep rolling forward,” Braun said.
 

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 7-3 home loss to Golden Knights

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 7-3 home loss to Golden Knights

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE -- Monday’s Sharks-Golden Knights showdown was billed as a hard-hitting matchup and boy, it didn’t disappoint. Unfortunately, things did not swing in the home team’s favor and San Jose dropped their third game of the season against Vegas, 7-3.

Here are three takeaways from Monday’s game:

The Sharks struggled without Joe Pavelski

San Jose was without their captain for the first time this season, as was sidelined with an undisclosed injury. With their top goal-scorer out, the Sharks needed all their skaters to step up to the challenge and make up for his absence. While they scored three good-looking goals -- two of those markers coming from Logan Couture -- and made a really nice push late in the game, not enough of their grade-A chances found the back of the net.

The Sharks also got into a lot of penalty trouble. Vegas is the type of team that is really good at making their opponents pay for making little mistakes, and they were able to wear San Jose down by sending them to the penalty box six times in the first two periods alone.

The Knights survived without Marc-Andre Fleury

San Jose had an opportunity to jump on Vegas with their star netminder out of the lineup. Fleury has unmistakably been the Knights’ best player all season, and a big reason why the Sharks got shut out in their first trip to T-Mobile Arena earlier this season. But backup goaltender Malcolm Subban stood his ground and was able to minimize the damage San Jose tried to create.

Subban also had a lot of help in front of him. Vegas was very good creating barriers around him and clogging up the lanes, making even the Sharks’ best efforts moot. 

Was this an accurate playoff preview?

Not exactly. Remember, both teams are missing key players because of injury. So Monday’s game probably wasn’t the best example of how these teams could matchup up if they end up playing each other in Round 1.

That being said, we got a pretty darn good look at how contentious a playoff series between these two teams would be. The Golden Knights have quickly become one of the Sharks’ biggest rivals, and all games between the two teams have gotten vicious. (Heck, Micheal Haley tried to pull Ryan Reaves off the bench to fight, for pete’s sake.) If these two teams meet up in the postseason -- a time when the refs typically let more hits slide -- it could end up being a blood bath.