Gustav Nyquist

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from frustrating 5-4 loss to Blackhawks

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from frustrating 5-4 loss to Blackhawks

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SAN JOSE -- Well, you certainly couldn’t call the Sharks-Blackhawks season series finale boring. San Jose rallied back from a three-goal deficit in a wild battle with the visitors from Chicago. But in the end, the losing streak continued, and the Sharks dropped their seventh straight game, 5-4. 

Here are three takeaways from Thursday’s game:

Another bad start

Earlier in the week, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer talked about the need for San Jose to stop letting the opposition take early leads. “That’s probably the thing we’ve struggled with most as a group all year. Our reaction to getting behind in games. It’s usually to open it up and take chances, and it’s bitten us almost every time we’ve done it.”

The Sharks then found themselves in a 3-0 hole in the first frame, and even though they pushed hard after that -- especially in the second period when Timo Meier tied the game up 4-4 -- they still spent a good portion of the game chasing. That’s a trend they’ll want to get away from before the playoffs start.

At least the power play started clicking

San Jose’s special teams have cost them a couple of times over their losing skid, and missed opportunities on the man advantage have been a big part of that. But the Sharks broke through with not one, but two power-play goals -- one from Gus Nyquist after he knocked his teeth out on the ice, and the second on a nice redirect from Tomas Hertl.

This was the first time the Sharks scored multiple times on the power play since Feb. 21 in Pittsburgh against the Penguins. San Jose has been getting chances on the man advantage but not pulling the trigger often enough. Hopefully Thursday night’s effort is the start of them turning things around.

It doesn't get any easier ahead

The Sharks have had trouble with their last handful of opponents who were all teams out of a playoff spot. Now they gear up for a tough back-to-back against the Golden Knights and the Flames, who are really going to test how well San Jose is getting prepared for the post-season. 

San Jose made a strong push after going down 3-0 early in the game, but allowing themselves to get into that much trouble early on -- and not playing a very clean game afterward -- made their job much more difficult. Against teams like Calgary and Vegas, coming back from such a deficit is going to be even harder.

Sharks vs. Red Wings watch guide: Projected lines and defensive pairs

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AP

Sharks vs. Red Wings watch guide: Projected lines and defensive pairs

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks are looking to snap their longest losing streak this season. They’ll have the opportunity to get back in the win column on Monday evening when they host Gustav Nyquist’s former team, the Detroit Red Wings.

Team Teal returns home after tallying just one point on their two-game trip down in Southern California with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks. San Jose currently sits with 95 points in the standings -- five points ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights and six points behind the Calgary Flames.

The Red Wings are the second-worst ranked team in the Eastern Conference, but visit San Jose coming off a 3-2 come-from-behind overtime victory over the Golden Knights. “They always give us a hard time,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said of the Detroit squad. “Their speed. They’re young, they’re enthusiastic. They’re playing, really, with no pressure on them. Those are dangerous teams.”

The Sharks will continue to play with captain Joe Pavelski, who is continuing to recover from a lower-body injury. DeBoer told the media Pavelski was “heading in the right direction,” though. “If it was playoffs, he’d probably be able to play. But there’s no sense rushing that right now.”

Detroit will play without Thomas Vanek, who has been sidelined with a mid-body injury, per Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. The Red Wings will roll out 11 forwards and seven defensemen against the Sharks.

This is the second and final time the Sharks and Red Wings will play each other this season. Through 93 total games played between the franchises, San Jose holds a 34-49-4-6 record.

Sharks projected lines and pairs:

Timo Meier – Logan Couture – Gustav Nyquist
Evander Kane – Tomas Hertl – Joonas Donskoi
Marcus Sorensen – Joe Thornton – Kevin Labanc
Lukas Radil – Barclay Goodrow – Melker Karlsson

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Tim Heed
Joakim Ryan – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Justin Braun

Martin Jones – projected starter
Aaron Dell

[RELATED: Sharks need better goaltending with playoffs around corner]

Red Wings projected lines and pairs:

Tyler Bertuzzi – Dylan Larkin – Anthony Mantha
Luke Glendening – Andreas Athanasiou – Taro Hirose
Frans Nielsen – Darren Helm
Ryan Kuffner – Christoffer Ehn – Matt Puempel

Dan DeKeyser – Filip Hronek
Niklas Kronwall – Madison Bowey
Brian Lashoff – Luke Witkowski
Dylan McIlrath

Jonathan Bernier – projected starter
Jimmy Howard

Gustav Nyquist excited to face former team as Sharks host Red Wings

Gustav Nyquist excited to face former team as Sharks host Red Wings

SAN JOSE -- It was just a month ago that Gustav Nyquist traded in his Red Wings’ sweater and flew to Boston to join the Sharks on their East Coast road trip. So naturally, it’s going to be a little weird Monday night when his former team makes their one and only visit of the season to SAP Center and he plays against them for the first time. 

“It’ll be a little different seeing that jersey out there and not passing the puck to those guys. I’ll try not to do that,” Nyquist told NBC Sports California, stifling a chuckle. “But I’m excited. It will be a lot of fun, too.”

In his short tenure with the Sharks, Nyquist has been nothing but candid about his transition to a new team -- particularly since it’s the first time he has ever been traded. Sharks coach Peter DeBoer had nothing but positive things to say about the Swedish winger when he spoke with the media Monday morning.

“We’ve had issues integrating guys before,” DeBoer discussed. “Guys like this with the kind of hockey sense, the way he plays, how easy he is to move around -- and guys want to play with players like that. I think it’s a lot easier.”

Nyquist has registered six points (three goals, three assists) in the 12 games he has played for San Jose so far, bouncing up and down the lineup as the Sharks battle injuries and illness in the last stretch of the regular season. Although the Sharks haven’t been winning games, Nyquist has been buzzing while skating on Logan Couture’s wing on San Jose’s de facto top line. It’s no doubt something San Jose wants to see as they try to snap their losing streak Monday against the Red Wings.

“It’s a big game for us tonight to get back on track,” Nyquist said. “Hopefully we can get a win here.”

[RELATED: Why Sharks believe five-game skid will strengthen them]

There’s no doubt Nyquist is going to keep grinding Monday as he helps the Sharks try to get a win, even though he told the press he spent some time with his old teammates when they got into town.

“I met up with a few of the guys,” he said. “Fun to see their faces again. I stay in touch with quite a few of them. When you play with those guys for such a long time, you build relationships that last for a lifetime. It’s good to see them again.”