Even the best teams have bad periods.
But have enough of these bad periods in a season, and that’s how you slide out of the playoff picture, as the San Jose Sharks are doing. After a 4-2 loss to Los Angeles, they’re now four points back of St. Louis, 16 games to go.
Last night’s second period was pretty much everything that’s plagued San Jose for a lot of this season. In other words, here’s the Sharks’ blueprint for failure:
Offensive Team Defense
The San Jose Sharks just haven’t been good enough defensively this year.
You’re probably tired of me tracking this — but blame them.
Tied at one apiece early in the middle frame, San Jose gave up two goals in 55 seconds.
This was the 21st time this season that San Jose has allowed two unanswered goals in under five minutes or three-or-more straight goals in under 10 minutes.
- 2 goals against in 3:26 @ Arizona on Jan. 14
- 2 goals against in 2:10, 2 goals against in 3:43 @ Arizona on Jan. 16
- 2 goals against in 1:33, 2 goals against in 4:43 @ St. Louis on Jan. 18
- 5 goals against in 9:33, 2 goals against in 1:31 @ Colorado on Jan. 26
- 3 goals against in 8:59 @ Colorado on Jan. 28
- 3 goals against in 8:19 @ Anaheim on Feb. 5
- 3 goals against in 9:55, 3 goals against in 2:05 @ Los Angeles on Feb. 11
- 2 goals against in 4:20 @ St. Louis on Feb. 18
- 2 goals against in 3:11 @ St. Louis on Feb. 20
- 2 goals against in 0:11 vs. Minnesota on Feb. 22
- 2 goals against in 3:02 vs. St. Louis on Feb. 27
- 3 goals against in 9:05 vs. Colorado on Mar. 3
- 2 goals against in 3:04 vs. Vegas on Mar. 5
- 4 goals against in 8:03 @ Vegas on Mar. 17
- 2 goals against in 3:13 vs. St. Louis on Mar. 20
- 3 goals against in 2:11 @ Arizona on Mar. 26
- 2 goals against in 0:55 vs. Los Angeles on Apr. 10
This is 21 times against 11 times that the Sharks have done this to their opponent.
- 2 goals for in 4:08 @ Arizona on Jan. 14
- 2 goals for in 2:40 @ St. Louis on Jan. 18
- 3 goals for in 9:24 @ Minnesota on Jan. 24
- 3 goals for in 7:25 @ Anaheim on Feb. 5
- 2 goals for in 2:46 @ St. Louis on Feb. 20
- 3 goals for in 5:54 vs. Colorado on Mar. 1
- 4 goals for in 9:05 @ Anaheim on Mar. 12
- 3 goals for in 8:46 @ Vegas on Mar. 17
- 2 goals for in 1:22 vs. Los Angeles on Mar. 24
- 2 goals for in 4:41 vs. Minnesota on Mar. 31
- 3 goals for in 9:16 vs. Los Angeles on Apr. 9
Let’s not drill too hard on the individual breakdowns – it looks like Dylan Gambrell lost Andreas Athanasiou on the second goal, then between Erik Karlsson and Patrick Marleau, neither covered Alex Iafallo jumping off the bench on the third goal – but the fact of the matter is, there just hasn’t been enough defensive responsibility shown by the entire team this season.
“Some bad decisions there in the second period,” Bob Boughner acknowledged.
No team is perfect – but the Sharks have been too far from perfect all season.
Power Play Outage
The San Jose Sharks’ power play was terrible last night and they still managed to raise their success rate. That sentence makes sense when you remember San Jose is 24th in the league on the PP at 17.7 %.
So 1-of-5 sounds okay, until you realize that one was during garbage time. The Sharks had four power play opportunities in the first two periods – four key chances to change the course of a still-winnable game – and failed at every turn.
Boughner did like the Timo Meier goal, meaningless as it was:
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) April 11, 2021
“That’s what we’re looking for,” an exasperated Boughner said. “It’s a simplified game plan on the power play and we had two guys in a good scoring position in the blue paint, digging away at pucks.
“Carolina and Dallas are the top two teams in the league on the power play, and if you watch their goals, what they’re doing, there’s nothing fancy about it. They’re cracking shots off the flanks, they’re cracking shots up top, they’re getting tips, they’re getting rebounds. It’s simple.”
“The [power play] goal with seven seconds left was obviously a killer,” Boughner said of this Dustin Brown power play “strike”.
— Eric (@Kingsgifs) April 11, 2021
Also obvious: This loss doesn’t take away from Martin Jones’s excellent play over the last month. Since Mar. 13, he’s 8-3-1 with a .929 Save % and a +5.64 Goals Saved Above Expected, per Evolving Hockey.
In fact, this is the fifth consecutive game that Jones has finished above a .900 Save %, a feat that he hasn’t achieved since 2017-18.
But also true: Jones’s .903 Save % is still sub-standard, 22nd in the league (of 31 goalies, 20+ games). His -5.99 GSAx is 23rd (of 36 goalies, 1000+ mins). This was also the San Jose starter’s sixth time pulled in just 27 starts, one short of tying his career-worst for pulls, indicative of his up-and-down work this season.
That Brown goal was a stark reminder of that.
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