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San Jose Sharks

Game Notes #29: Sharks Just Don’t Have That Extra Bite, Lose 5-2



Credit: Sheng Peng

Period 1

Gambrell goal: Burns creates havoc down low, good patience by Burns behind net to wait for pass and by Gambrell to wait on his shot. Gambrell also does good job being aware of Burns being down low, covering for him. Also, before San Jose Sharks gained zone, on other side, good defense – Blues were coming down slot, but every option was covered.

Couture complaining about call while chasing Kyrou may have given Dunn that little bit of space to uncork that double-deflection goal.

Ugly: On Kyrou goal, looks like Vlasic is slow to get back on Kyrou, Kane is too aggressive on O’Reilly behind net.

10 minutes left: Like vision and execution of that weakside breakout pass by Meier.

7 minutes left: Good puck battle between Labanc and Perron before blueline. I think that’s a mark of Labanc’s improvement in this department: Perron is crafty and strong in these types of battle, made a living being strong along wall and holding puck. He’s not an easy guy to get a puck off of.

Early on this PP, Karlsson at point, Blues PK draped over him, beaut of a backhand pass cross ice to Kane to relieve pressure.

Almost 3-1 Blues, but Sharks were better team in first although they find themselves down. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. San Jose 5-2 Slot Shots on Net, All Situations, per SPORTLOGiQ. At 5-on-5, according to Natural Stat Trick, they’re up 7-4 Scoring Chances, 3-1 High-Danger.

Period 2

2 minutes in: Suomela does good job to jump pass in NZ, has 2-on-1 with Leonard, who’s now on his line.

6 minutes in: Leonard has chance to get it out along wall in DZ, doesn’t. Not a good detail play there.

Right after this, terrific volley by Couture line. Labanc intercepts a telegraphed Dunn pass, then the line just descends on Husso like vultures.

Seconds left on San Jose Sharks’ delay of game penalty, Simek has it in corner, he has more time than he thinks. Instead of looking up to make an easy clear, he goes for hard around that’s intercepted. If he was being rushed, I’d have no criticism, but in that situation, you have to have that awareness and look up.

6 minutes left: I know there’s a lot of unhappiness about Boughner’s decision to move down Leonard to fourth line, promote Marleau to second line in middle frame. But that shift at least partially explains it: Along the wall, Marleau blocks rim, then bullies past Tarasenko to bat loose puck out and past Bortuzzo. Good detail play. It’s not just that, of course: Marleau is also still fast and possesses good hockey sense. So question is, do you take higher ceiling of a Leonard now over more reliable Marleau? Looks like Boughner made a choice. For what it’s worth, there’s a reason why Nieto was playing up too – a lack of forward depth on team, for one, but also Nieto’s ability to be a junkyard dog if he’s on a skill line.

Natural Stat Trick is just second period; SPORTLOGiQ is both periods.

Period 3

Just a thought: Labanc and Perron have been matched up a lot, wonder if Perron is a good career path for Labanc. I know San Jose Sharks fans don’t like Perron, but Perron is a very underrated offensive player, legit scorer and playmaker, and deceptively strong. We’ve already seen this year with Labanc’s improvement hunting down pucks, a little more wiry strength than before. And Labanc has the shot to score more goals than he does now.

3 goals against in 17 shots. Welp, that week of good goaltending was nice.

7 minutes in: Sorensen, below goal line, does nice job to shed Faulk. Sorensen has quality speed and energy to burn there, good shift, but not much offense.

10 minutes in: Kane does nice job catching a bullet Burns’s stretch pass. That’s an underrated skill, that ability to catch a hard stretch pass, especially from a Burns, who throws a lot of them.

9 minutes left: Marleau and Scandella waging a pitched battle in front of Husso. Scandella wins this round.

I wonder at what point, “But we played well…” doesn’t register in room anymore. Credit to Boughner and staff, the San Jose Sharks have bought into how the coaching staff wants them to play. Culture has improved, but does it stay strong if results continue to elude team? And inevitably, when there isn’t anything to play for? This isn’t a week left in season, there are 27 games left.

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