Sharks

Three takeaways: Successful debut for Sharks' Meier

Three takeaways: Successful debut for Sharks' Meier

MONTREAL – The Sharks jumped out to an early lead and won their third straight road game at the Bell Centre on Friday over Montreal. The three main takeaways from the 4-2 victory…

1 – Successful debut for Meier

The much anticipated debut of the ninth overall pick from 2015 was a success, as Timo Meier scored a first period goal, nearly got another in the second, and showed why he’s the organization’s best prospect in a long, long time.

“He’s a big, powerful guy. I thought he looked comfortable,” Pete DeBoer said. “He’s heavy, he’s hard – he plays the way we want to play.”

There’s no question Meier’s job is to use his big frame to get to the front of the net, which is where his two scoring chances happened. He’s just about the same size as Tomas Hertl, and could be just as offensively skilled as Hertl but with a bit more speed.

Meier said: “Obviously [I] wanted to play within my strengths, get inside, get in front of the net, and just keep it simple. I got rewarded with a goal. Just moving forward, I think I can take a lot out of this game. I think it’s great to get that first one behind me.”

Meier was the first Sharks player to score a goal on his first career shot in his NHL debut since Matt Carle on March 25, 2006 at Minnesota, according to Elias.

2 – Finally some power play goals

For the first time in 23 games, and just the second time this season, the Sharks scored multiple power play goals. Their road power play percentage was an abysmal 8.2 percent headed into the game, scoring just four times in 49 opportunities.

“We kind of struggled on the power play in Ottawa little bit, so we talked about that this morning,” said Joe Thornton, who saw the Sharks go 0-for-7 on Wednesday against the Senators. “We know how tough these guys are here at home, so we wanted to get off to a quick start, and that just helped us out.”

David Schlemko, who scored the first goal, said: “We feel like we’ve been doing the right things, and not getting the bounces we deserve. Nice to get it going early tonight.”

3 – Chasing Price

Canadiens goalie Carey Price is getting some attention around the league on Saturday after he was pulled in the second period, and was caught glaring down the bench at either his teammates or coach Michel Therrien on his way to the dressing room.

Price declined to speak with the media after the game, according to NHL.com.

Regardless, the Sharks have now beaten Price twice this season, which is an accomplishment. Even after allowing four goals on 18 shots on Friday, he’s still 16-4-2 with a 1.95 goals-against average and .935 save percentage on the season. Half of his regulation losses have come to San Jose, including a 2-1 defeat at SAP Center on Dec. 2.

“He’s one of the best goalies in the world, if not the best,” Schlemko said. “Always good to get to him early. He starts getting hot, he’s pretty tough to beat.”

Sharks not satisfied with single point, believe skid will strengthen them

Sharks not satisfied with single point, believe skid will strengthen them

Well, the Sharks certainly made it interesting. Every time the Ducks scored a goal on Friday evening, the Sharks came back and were able to tie things up. They even got the game-tying goal late in the third period that took their contest into overtime – at least, before they lost 4-3.

Perhaps at a different time of year, getting their first point in five games would feel better. Not on this night. 

The focus remains on the work to be done with just seven games left in the regular season. For Team Teal, they need to clean their game up and get back into the win column.

“It’s better than nothing, but overall, we’re just not finding ways to win games now,” Timo Meier told the media in Anaheim regarding the single point. “We’ve got to find a way to win games. It’s an important time of the year. Playoffs are really close.”

San Jose put a better effort on the ice on Friday than they did the previous evening in LA against the Kings, but the opportunistic Ducks were able to bury more of their chances,

"I don’t think we gave them very much," Peter DeBoer said. "Every chance they got, they stuck in the net, though."

DeBoer was more critical of the team a second night in a row, and rightfully so. Despite outshooting the opposition, the Sharks weren’t able to find the back of the net enough times. They allowed two goals while playing on the penalty kill and tallied 14 giveaways. Plus, outside of Meier’s power-play marker, San Jose still went one-for-five on the man advantage. Despite tying the score up three times, the Sharks couldn’t keep the Ducks from responding.

Clearly, all areas of the game need to be tweaked.

“We’ve got to find a way to get an extra save, and on (the other) end we’ve got to find a way to get another goal,” DeBoer said. “We could’ve used a power-play goal tonight -- another one.”

Perhaps the only silver lining, as Meier put it, is that the Sharks are going through this stretch now instead of once they get into the playoffs. San Jose is still trying to get some of its key players healthy and into the lineup so they can make a deep playoff run with the lines and pairs they want. The goal, at least at the moment, is to make sure this five-game skid is a lesson to learn from and not a prelude to the future.

"Get stronger as a team, get tighter as a group, and learn," Meier said. "It’s going to make us stronger going into the playoffs because there are going to be lots of ups and downs coming up. It’s going to make us stronger and we’ve got to react the right way.”

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from overtime loss to Ducks

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from overtime loss to Ducks

BOX SCORE

All the Sharks needed was a win. Just one win on Friday evening against the Ducks. Two points to salvage the road trip, stop the losing streak, and get back to hunting for first place in the division.

Not surprisingly, Team Teal made things interesting with a game that stayed tied up heading down the stretch. Unfortunately for San Jose, the Ducks were the victors in overtime 4-3.

Here are three takeaways from Friday’s game:

How did the power play look?

In a few words: nonexistent until the third. San Jose had three opportunities on the man advantage through the first 40 minutes of play and couldn’t make anything happen. They even gave up a couple breaks the other way that Dell had to stop. Had the power play converted, the Sharks might’ve been up by two or three goals after two period of play.

Timo Meier came up big with the power-play goal in the third period to tie the score up 2-2. While they couldn’t capitalize on the power-play opportunity immediately followed, Meier’s marker will hopefully open up the flood gates for the power play.

Who else stepped up?

Sharks’ bench boss Peter DeBoer didn’t mince words after Thursday’s loss to the Kings, saying that the team needed someone to step up during this stretch with injured superstars and be a hero.

“You’ve got to get a great performance from somebody in a game like this and I don’t think we got that,” DeBoer said on Thursday.

In all honesty, the whole team looked better even with the loss. The fourth line had a couple very memorable shifts, cycling low and establishing pressure. Joe Thornton’s line was clicking, which was clear from Kevin Labanc’s goal.

Gustav Nyquist was a solo standout – despite not finding the back of the net, he played a heck of a game and had some incredible looks. Of course, you can’t talk about this game without talking about Justin Braun scoring the big game-tying goal in the third frame, which was his first marker since December 2.

How did Aaron Dell do?

In all fairness, Dell gave the Sharks a chance to win for the majority of the game. No. 30 has looked good in his last couple of outings – save his relief effort against the Golden Knights earlier in the week when he had little defense to help him out – and he made a couple great saves in Anaheim as well, especially when the Ducks had a couple short-handed breakaways.

Unfortunately for Dell, he gave up the two power-play goals in the third frame. While Braun was the hero and scored the tying goal late in the third to help take the game into overtime, Dell still couldn’t hold down the fort in overtime. It doesn’t matter if he’s the backup or not – at this time of the season, playing too loose late in games isn’t good.