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Where Does This Loss Rank Among Sharks’ Most Devastating This Year?

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Credit: AP Photo/Kyusung Gong

For the San Jose Sharks, it’s “Groundhog Day”.

Once again, in a 5-4 OT loss to the Anaheim Ducks, the Sharks managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

San Jose outshot Anaheim 41-29, doubled them up in Slot Shots in All Situations 23-11 (per SPORTLOGiQ), and enjoyed a similar edge in High-Danger attempts at 5-on-5 26-14 (per Natural Stat Trick).

Most teams in most cases are not losing this game with the Sharks’ level of control.

But the San Jose Sharks, as we’ve learned all too well this season, are no common team.

“I don’t even know what to say,” Timo Meier said about another devastating loss. “It’s obviously frustrating.”

What’s grotesque is the new ways that the Sharks find to lose: Tonight, it was a goal given up by Kaapo Kahkonen off an errant carom off the boards, and a game-tying strike with seven minutes left that was marred by controversy.

Did Henrique Make It Back Onsides? Sharks Still Don’t Think So

The heartbreaking defeats, however, are getting old. I’m not even sure if this was one of the five-most devastating this season.

Let’s rank ‘em – it’s just 42 more games of this, after all – from worse to worst.

Florida Panthers 4-3 Shootout (Nov. 3, 2022)

Call it the homestand from hell.

The Sharks dropped five of six in this late October-early November homestand, and at least three of those losses made this list. The defeats here hurt in particular, perhaps, because the season was still young, and it still felt like a fresh canvas.

In some ways though, this loss didn’t hurt as bad.

Down 2-0 going into the third period, San Jose roared back with three goals in the first 12 minutes, to take a brief lead. This was not last year’s Sharks team…until it was, again. Carter Verhaeghe tied the game with less than two minutes left from a tough angle, and Florida pulled out a shootout victory.

“Even though we’re losing shootouts and tight games and giving up goals late. But I think there’s a belief in there that okay, if we clean this up, we’re gonna win these games,” David Quinn offered.

Little did he know.

Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 OT (Dec. 29, 2022)

Hello darkness, my old friend.

Rinse, repeat: Sharks dominate play throughout the game. Sharks score an early third period goal, this time courtesy of Kevin Labanc, to build a 3-1 cushion. The Sharks abide. Flyers cut it to 3-2 right after Labanc goal. Flyers tie it with their goalie pulled. Flyers take it in OT.

“It seems like we always get a little scared [when the game gets tight],” San Jose Sharks alternate captain Tomas Hertl said.

Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 (Nov. 30, 2022)

The Sharks were hanging tough with the Leafs in the center of the hockey universe, and looked to be a shoo-in for OT. But with three minutes left, Hertl tried what he called “a stupid play” to Timo Meier that was intercepted, and the home side counterattacked for the go-ahead goal.

“It’s all on me,” Hertl said. “I cost us two points because I made a stupid play.”

Hertl Shoulders Blame, But Sharks Speak Up for Him

Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 (Oct. 29, 2022)

This was before the losing got old.

Through 15 minutes of the third period, the upstart Sharks were choking the life out of the 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup champs, holding them to two shots in a 3-3 game. Maybe San Jose’s 0-5-0 start to the season was an aberration? But then, Nikita Kucherov took advantage with less than a minute, preventing the Sharks from even getting the consolation point.

“Your mistakes have to be manageable, and right now, it’s happening less and less,” Quinn said, “but we still make too many [mistakes] that aren’t manageable.”

Unfortunately, the Sharks are still making these major mistakes into the new year.

What Went Wrong for Sharks on Kucherov Goal? Ex-NHL Head Coach Explains (+)

Anaheim Ducks 5-4 Shootout (Nov. 5, 2022)

Late in the final frame, the Sharks were cruising with a 4-2 lead, in a contest where they would outshoot the Ducks 52-25. In the first period, San Jose actually outshot Anaheim 21-4. It was also a rare sellout at SAP Center.

But Mason McTavish cut the two-goal lead to one with four minutes left, Adam Henrique would score with the goalie pulled, and the Ducks would take it in the shootout.

“We continue to feel like we’re going in the right direction but we shoot ourselves in the foot, and we did again today,” Quinn said.

It sounds like we’ve heard that refrain all season – and we have! By my count, the Sharks have said they’ve shot themselves in the foot at least 10 separate times this season.

“No More Feet to Shoot” – the story of the 2022-23 San Jose Sharks.

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