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.