What should have been an easy win, playing a 1-7 team, turned out to be a big tank at the Tank for the San Jose Sharks. Even with double the shots on net, the Sharks were still not able to light the lamp but once against the Buffalo Sabres.
All the scoring occurred in the third period. Cody Hodgson was first on the board for the Sabres at 3:43. Just over two minutes later, the Sabres put the Sharks two in the hole, with a goal from Nicolas Deslauriers, a rookie, and his first goal of the season. Eleven seconds later, an unassisted goal by Brent Burns – his second of the season and giving him a healthy 9 points in 9 games – lit up the crowd and got the Sharks back in the game for the moment. But that would be all to write in the box score.
Unfortunately, the power plays weren’t exciting either. A smattering of penalties in the second, plus some 4-on-4 action, resulted in both clubs coming up empty on all attempts.
So, what was good about this game? For starters, the Sharks were 67% in the playoff circle, winning 33 of 49 attempts. And, Tommy Wingels’ game total of four shots put him ahead of both teams, showing his determination.
Wingels reflected after the game, “I tried to play hard,” but knows that there is work to be done on the D noting “We need to do a better job at keeping them from scoring. We have to find a way to get more pucks to the net.” The Sharks did get pucks to the net, but regardless of those 30 shots, Sabres’ goalie Michal Neuvirth was near perfect.
Adam Burish continued to make his presence known with 3 shots on net. Burns also had 3 shots, while rookies Chris Tierney and Mirco Mueller both contributed to the shot clock, with 3 and 1, respectively. Speaking of those two, the line with Wingels and Tierney, with Mueller on defense, really stood out the entire game.
Coach McLellan agreed in a postgame interview: “I thought Chris Tierney had his best game for us – Tommy Wingels, Matt Nieto – certainly through the first two periods they were our best line.”
Those were the positives and important things to keep in mind as the club faces Pacific Division leader Anaheim Ducks tomorrow in Anaheim.
But to sum up this contest, McLellan further noted, “I thought we just played with them rather than putting our foot on the gas. And that’s disappointing.”
Whether it was the atypical afternoon start time or the Sharks letting off the gas against a team with a less-than-stellar record, this game was disappointing, indeed.