Sharks

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 4-2 comeback win over Coyotes

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Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 4-2 comeback win over Coyotes

Playing on the tail end of a back-to-back can be a doozy. And boy, did the Sharks get off to a rough start on Saturday night against the Arizona Coyotes at Enterprise Center.

But San Jose rebounded and made things interesting in their post-Thanksgiving meeting with the Desert Dogs. The Sharks rallied in the second stanza and held on late to emerge victorious 4-2.

Here are three takeaways from Saturday's game.

What the heck happened in that first period?

It isn’t clear what the problem was, but San Jose's puck management in front of Martin Jones was dismal, especially when it came to turning the puck over in their own end. It's no wonder they went into a 2-0 hole in the first 2:12 of the first frame. Fortunately for the Sharks, they were able to right the ship as soon as the puck drop in the second period and were able to tie things up 2-2.

This was also another example of how the Sharks have gotten better at rebounding and correcting their mistakes. Their ability to recover and get off to a stronger start in the second period was pivotal in them taking the lead before the halfway point of the stanza.

Depth scoring continues

After nearly two months of not getting much production from their bottom six, the Sharks had a second straight game where they got some depth scoring. They got production from their young players to boot, with Dylan Gambrell tying things up -- and looked strong in his return to the lineup on top of it -- and Timo Meier continuing his recent boost in play by notching San Jose's go-ahead goal.

And although Noah Gregor didn't find the back of the net on Saturday night, his game has visibly gone up a notch since he scored his first NHL goal against the Kings on Friday. If he continues to play with that kind of confidence, more goals will surely follow -- and the Sharks will have another weapon in their bottom six.

Martin Jones on the back-to-back

No. 31 entered Saturday’s game with a 9-2-3 record when playing both ends of a back-to-back, and given how the game started it looked like he might get another notch in the loss column. But Jones continued his strong play from Friday into Saturday’s game, locking down after Arizona jumped out to a very fast 2-0 lead.

Jones’ performance was especially important in the third period when San Jose took three straight penalties and had their one-goal lead threatened. Even with a tired PK unit in front of him, Jones kept his composure and helped keep the Sharks’ hopes alive.

Although, to be fair, Jones should probably buy the goal post dinner after it saved the tying goal with 6:12 left in the game.

Sharks continue to suffer from lack of scoring, abundance of penalties

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Sharks continue to suffer from lack of scoring, abundance of penalties

Evander Kane called it "interesting." Head coach Peter DeBoer called it "messy." No matter what word you choose, everyone can agree that the Sharks' 3-1 loss to the Predators on Tuesday got downright ugly.

San Jose had what was probably its best defensive game of the month in Nashville, being stingy and not giving the opposing Preds a lot of room to work. But with a scoreless tie after two periods, tempers began to fly, and what followed was a tsunami of penalties that ultimately determined the Sharks' fate.

The Sharks felt like they were in this one. But a plethora of penalties late in the second period and early in the third changed that. A whopping 39 penalty minutes later, San Jose had dropped the fourth and final game of its road trip. 

"We're still taking too many penalties," DeBoer told reporters after the loss. "I thought we pressed really hard in the second, didn't give them anything. I thought we deserved to be up going into the third and we didn't get rewarded for the work in the second. And they're at home, I thought they pushed hard. Pushed us back early in the third, got us on our heels a little bit. Really, when you get into a game like that, whoever scores first is probably going to win."

San Jose actually went on the penalty kill just 47 seconds into the game when Barclay Goodrow went to the box for slashing. But the real wave of penalties came late in the second period after Goodrow and Calle Jarnkrok received matching minors. Tempers were unhinged from that point on -- heck even the officials were fired up, as the microphone caught one using explicit language while reprimanding Nashville's Roman Josi. 

[RELATED: Sharks' Simek to miss two weeks for minor knee procedure]

The biggest tussle, however, took place in the final seconds of the second period when Dan Hamhuis cross-checked Kane and then Auston Watson jumped in as the third man in. Though Kane was defending himself, the officials tagged him with 19 penalty minutes, essentially taking him out of the remainder of the contest. 

"I don't understand the 19 minutes and how that was made up," Kane remarked when asked about the scuffle. "There was a lot of that all night going back and forth."

"Tough for him to sit for that long," DeBoer said in Kane's defense. "Hamhuis started the whole thing and then Watson comes in and grabs him and we end up with the short end of it. But it's a messy situation, I'm not going to second guess the call."

Regardless of how many penalties the Sharks racked up, they still needed to find a way to score more goals. They only found the back of the net once Tuesday, and only scored once in each of their previous two games. Despite doing some good work in the offensive zone, San Jose isn't going to reap the rewards without scoring goals to make up for its mistakes.

"You've got to find a way to win and we've got to find a way to score," DeBoer summarized. "I think that's the story of the trip."

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in contentious 3-1 loss to Predators

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Sharks takeaways: What we learned in contentious 3-1 loss to Predators

BOX SCORE

It wasn't full of offensive firepower, but what Tuesday's game between the Sharks and Predators lacked in goals, it made up for with flying fists.

Unfortunately, despite the fiery matchup and an entertaining “hot mic” moment, San Jose still couldn’t find a way to turn its fortunes around. The Sharks concluded their battle at Bridgestone Arena with a 3-1 loss, ending their road trip without a single win.

Here are three takeaways from Tuesday's game:

A plethora of penalties

With the game scoreless through the first two periods, the two sides became visibly agitated with one another. But rather than take out their frustrations out on the scoreboard, they took it out on each other. By the end of second stanza, the Sharks led the charge with 31 penalty minutes to Nashville’s 29.

While the Preds were the ones with multiple players simultaneously in the sin bin, it was Sharks winger Evander Kane who racked up a staggering 19 penalty minutes resulting from a tussle with Nashville's Auston Watson. Being without the power forward for almost the entire third period visibly took its toll on San Jose, which continued its dance in and out of the box into the third frame.

The PK was overworked 

San Jose's league-leading penalty kill wasn't its normal self last weekend, but it looked strong and sturdy Tuesday night in Nashville. It was a good thing, too, considering how many times the Sharks found themselves shorthanded, particularly early on.

Unfortunately, the abundance of penalties eventually wore San Jose’s PK down and Nashville was able to find the back of the net on a power play with less than 10 minutes left to play. It's been said before, but clearly it needs to be said again: The Sharks need to clean their game up and give the penalty kill a break so they don’t burn out.

[RELATED: Sharks' Simek to miss two weeks for minor knee procedure]

A better goalie matchup 

One of San Jose's biggest problems over the course of the road trip was that Martin Jones was outplayed by the netminder on the other end of the ice. That was not the case Tuesday night in Nashville, as Jones and Juuse Saros traded off making big saves up until Nick Bonino put the Predators up 1-0 in the third frame.

Jones had a particularly nice sprawling save on a four-minute penalty kill in the first period, which could have put the Sharks in a 1-0 hole pretty quickly. Perhaps the standard is too low for a team of San Jose's talent level, but after the rough weekend the Sharks had, they deserve credit for getting out of the first period with a scoreless tie. Avoiding an early deficit clearly gave San Jose a boost of energy, which persisted throughout the game. Well, at least until all of the fights started.