Sharks

Three takeaways: Sharks' power outage in St. Louis

Three takeaways: Sharks' power outage in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS – The Sharks’ first meeting with St. Louis since last year's playoffs didn’t go as they had hoped, as David Perron’s second period power play goal held up as the difference in a 3-2 Blues win. The three biggest takeaways from the game…

1 – Power outage

It’s pretty simple to figure this game out, as the Sharks surrendered a power play goal to Perron while they went 0-for-6. San Jose was on a man advantage for 10 minutes and one second, more than half a period, but still couldn’t find a way to beat Jake Allen on nine power play shots. They are two for their last 23 overall.

Logan Couture offered his perspective of what’s wrong:

“It sometimes feels like we’re forcing plays through bodies, through sticks. Other times it feels like we’re not shooting the puck enough and not getting motion towards the net and not getting second or third opportunities. It feels like we’re one shot and out, which isn’t us. We usually shoot the puck, get it back, shoot it again. Get a buzz going, get the PK tired, and we’re able to find the seams.”

It will be interesting to see if coach Pete DeBoer breaks up his top unit for Saturday’s game in Arizona. Joel Ward, who has seen limited time on the power play this season after he was a mainstay on the second unit last year, replaced Patrick Marleau in the third period.

2 – Labanc’s stock rising, Boedker’s falling

Rookie Kevin Labanc played his best game so far, scoring a goal and fitting in nicely with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. His second period marker tied the game at 2-2, and Pavelski promptly retrieved the special puck.

“I was just kind of battling in front of the net, trying to get position for a tip, but Jumbo tipped it to me and just kind of turned around and shot it,” Labanc said of his goal.

Meanwhile, Mikkel Boedker was bumped to the fourth line, and didn’t register a single shot on goal. He’s scoreless in his last seven games, with just six shots over that span. 

“Trying to find my way, playing hard, trying to make things happen. Right now it’s not just going the right way,” Boedker said. “I would [love] to have a lot more points than I do, and be a lot more productive than what I am. I still have got to be better, and I still have got to make sure I do the right things day in and day out and keep learning and keep getting better, and go from there.”

3 – Hertl’s status unknown 

Tomas Hertl left the game in the second period and didn’t return. There was no update at all from DeBoer after the game, but Hertl was seen limping up the tunnel, suggesting some sort of lower body issue. Hertl has had right knee problems in the past, including the Stanley Cup Final when he was injured in Game 2 forcing him from the series and the World Cup in September. For his sake, hopefully it's something else this time.

Melker Karlsson remains with the team, but is still wearing a walking boot on his left foot/ankle from blocking a Victor Hedman shot in Tampa Bay last Saturday. The Sharks still have one extra forward on the trip in Micheal Haley, who has sat for the last five games.

Sharks still searching for answers after 3-2 loss to Red Wings

Sharks still searching for answers after 3-2 loss to Red Wings

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.”

[RELATED: What we learned from Sharks' loss to Red Wings]

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.”

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from disappointing loss to Red Wings

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USATSI

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from disappointing loss to Red Wings

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – With both the Calgary Flames and Vegas Golden Knights losing their respective contests Monday evening, the Sharks had a prime opportunity to gain some ground in the Pacific Division standings. But their efforts proved to be too little, too late as Team Teal dropped their sixth straight game, 3-2, to the Detroit Red Wings.

Here are three takeaways from Monday’s game:

The offense didn't get going in time

As the Sharks have done for much of the season, they outshot their opponent.

While trailing 1-0 partway through the second stanza, the Sharks got some really good zone time and began putting extra pressure on Detroit netminder Jonathan Bernier. Nevertheless, San Jose couldn’t find the back of the net. Even as Sharks coach Peter DeBoer threw the line combos into the blender, they didn’t light the lamp until Evander Kane’s third-period goal. At that point, the Red Wings already had a 3-0 lead.

To be fair, Bernier made some pretty good saves, especially the toe stop on Gustav Nyquist’s back-handed attempt on the power play. But the Sharks are going to be facing much tougher goalies than him during this last stretch and into the playoffs. With just six games left in the regular season, the offense needs to get going right from puck drop.

Shaky defense

San Jose’s all-around defensive play has been shoddy as the Sharks' losing streak has gone on, and Monday’s game was another example of that.

There were neutral zone turnovers and hiccups this blue line wasn’t making at the midway point of the season when they really found their game and began stringing wins together. Part of the defense’s troubles is an offshoot of how the whole team is banged up and not playing at 100 percent. It’s also hard to ignore that Radim Simek’s presence is greatly missed.

Whatever the solution is, San Jose needs to find it fast. A team can’t make it out of the first round of the playoffs without playing a tighter defensive game.

Level of concern?

Yes, this team is dealing with injury and illness and is trying to get healthy for the playoffs. And after taking last Friday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks into overtime, it really looked like San Jose was going to start turning things around. However, Monday's game looked like a step backward – against a team that has been eliminated from playoff contention, no less.

After Friday’s overtime loss in Anaheim, Timo Meier told the media it was better to go through these struggles now as opposed to once the playoffs start. While you can’t disagree with that logic, the continued losing streak can’t be good for the team’s confidence.