SAN JOSE -- Sharks interim head coach Bob Boughner didn't want to name names to the media when he said that he wanted certain players to step their game up after a 3-2 overtime loss to the Kings on Friday. But everyone listening had a hunch one of those players was 23-year-old Timo Meier.
Following a big 2018-19 campaign, the Swiss forward has battled to find that same fire consistently. Through the two games bookending the Christmas break, Boughner even sat Meier for stretches late in both contests.
Then, on the tail end of a back-to-back, Meier responded in a big way with his first career hat trick -- one that led San Jose to a 6-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. It became more clear than ever that the how big of a piece the young winger is to this Sharks team.
When Meier is hitting his mark, San Jose has a much better chance of winning.
"When he works, he's a very good player, and when he doesn't he's going to struggle," veteran and Sharks captain Logan Couture said. "The goal for the San Jose Sharks was for those guys to step into big minutes and fill shoes and contribute and it's been a tough season. The big thing is working hard and I think that Timo got back to that tonight."
To be fair, Meier wasn't the only Sharks player who needed a bounce-back performance after Friday's meltdown against Los Angeles. His absence from the ice in the third period and Boughner's post-game comments, however, put a spotlight on his performance.
After his big rebound performance on Saturday night, No. 28 took stock in his game.
"I know myself, I've got to be better," Meier said in a candid manner. "I thought tonight was better but I still know I have to do more.
"Obviously, yesterday wasn't a great game, but that's how it is. You've got to bounce back. That's how the business is."
Meier thrived on a de facto second line with Evander Kane and Barclay Goodrow on Saturday, contributing nine of San Jose's 31 hits on the evening in addition to connecting for Meier's second and third goals on the evening. Boughner attributed that success to the meetings the team held on Saturday morning.
"We had a good meeting this morning where we sort of called each other on the carpets about the details and why we're struggling," Boughner explained. "I thought that was our most effective line. They played a lot more straight and north. They were stopping pucks and being physical.
"You could see the message that we sent this morning about identity and being a harder team to play against. I thought we were a heck of a lot more physical."
[RELATED: Watch all three of Meier's goals]
Now, of course, it's a matter of San Jose continuing that physical play and stringing a couple of wins together. Even with the success they had on Saturday against the Flyers, they are still down in the Western Conference basement. The Sharks have to keep playing with desperation if they're going to get a winning streak going.
"After last night's loss, we were obviously pissed off," Meier said. "I thought tonight we played like that -- we were the more desperate team. And we've got to play like that. That's how we're going to have success as a team."