Bob Boughner, in his post-game media availability, sounded like he had been yelling for three hours straight.
We know, of course, that he wasn’t yelling over a frenzied SAP Center crowd in the San Jose Sharks’ 7-6 loss to St. Louis.
“It’s tough to build momentum,” Boughner acknowledged in a hoarse voice, “when the next shot goes into the net every time.”
It wasn’t just the goaltending – though Devan Dubnyk did tie a single-game career worst by letting seven behind him – it was an equally exasperating team defense. San Jose was up 1-0, 2-1, 3-2, and 4-3 before giving way to the Blues.
This is tied for the most goals that Devan Dubnyk has given up in a single regular season game in his career. He's also given up 7 two other times, 1/14/20 @ PIT, 12/21/09 vs. STL. And we still have 8 minutes to go!
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) February 28, 2021
The Sharks’ bench boss admitted: “It’s mental when you get a lead, you lose it four times.”
But about that goaltending: The combined 13 goals that Martin Jones and Dubnyk have surrendered in the last two games is the most in consecutive games that San Jose has given up since Aaron Dell and Jones’s 13 on Mar. 24-25, 2017.
Also: The last time that San Jose lost a game where they scored six or more goals was Nov. 26, 2005, also 7-6 to Detroit. That was literally days before Joe Thornton was traded to the Sharks.
Point is, this caliber of “puck stopping” won’t cut it for the San Jose Sharks – but what other options do they have? Behind Dubnyk and Jones, rookies Alexei Melnichuk and Josef Korenar have a combined eight minutes of NHL experience. I’m not a proponent of throwing young, untested goalies into the fire, but at this rate, what choice will the Sharks have?
Tonight’s result is especially dispiriting because the window was wide open for Dubnyk to stake a claim as the team’s No. 1.
Timo Time Again?
At least Timo Meier snapped a six-game goalless streak, potting two goals.
Going into tonight, per Natural Stat Trick, just 43 NHL forwards were averaging double-digit scoring chances per 60 in All Situations. Only five, Rickard Rakell, Victor Arvidsson, Taylor Hall, and Jake DeBrusk, had a worse individual shooting percentage than Meier’s 3.6.
It’s been a snake-bitten season for Meier, but he’s still getting chances.
A hot Meier could go a long way toward turning around the San Jose Sharks’ season.
There were good signs from Karlsson – a season-high six shots – and there were bad signs – a hooking penalty that squelched a San Jose Sharks’ 5-on-3 power play with a 4-3 lead.
Good news is, Karlsson completed the game not looking any worse for the wear because of his recent groin injury.
“I thought he looked fine,” Boughner said. “He was moving well. Held up well. I thought he looked really good.”
It wasn’t a banner return by any means, but it was a step in the right direction for a Sharks team that needs as much good news as possible.
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