Connect with us

San Jose Sharks

It’s Not That the Sharks Lost — It’s How They Lost



Credit: AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

COLUMBUS – A good team will learn from this. A bad team won’t.

So what are the San Jose Sharks? We’re about to get a better picture, as the Sharks head home after a 6-4 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“It’s the most frustrating game of the year for me,” a visibly upset Bob Boughner admitted post-game.

Tied up at three apiece after two periods, and after a dominating opening frame, the stage was set for San Jose to cap off their road trip with a resounding victory. But instead, they turned in their worst period of this swing through the Midwest and East, ending with a good-but-not-great 3-2-0 record.

“We sort of went brain dead,” Boughner said. “I know guys are a little tired, it’s the end of a trip.”

Erik Karlsson couldn’t disagree: “I think we were a little bit mentally tired, and we didn’t execute as much as we would have liked. And we made some bad decisions out there.”

“We just didn’t play our [defensive] structure,” Tomas Hertl said, “that’s why we lost.”

“Tonight, it got away from us. Unacceptable,” Boughner said. “Those guys in the room have to tighten it up. We got to play the right way.”

It’s not that the Sharks lost – it’s how they lost. This is how they kicked off a tied-up final frame:

Between Karlsson (65) and Nick Bonino (13) in the neutral zone, somebody has to keep Jack Roslovic (96) to the outside. This might have been a miscommunication between the two.

It’s a three-on-three going the other way until Jakub Voracek (93) finds the wide-open late man Gabriel Carlsson (53). That’s Karlsson’s assignment — he had joined the initial rush — though Jonathan Dahlen (76) could’ve helped too.

But it’s just one loss. The Sharks, in the thick of a post-season hunt right now, have a chance to set themselves apart in December: They don’t leave the state of California for the rest of the month with nine home games and a single visit to Anaheim.

So will this team continue to play with a defense-first mindset?

“How we played the last four games, even the Rangers loss, we just stayed with our structure and detail. Everything starts for us in the D-zone,” Hertl asserted.

Defense-first, no matter the goaltending? Adin Hill gave up five goals on 30 shots, unable to come up with the timely save. As he did so often last season, Boughner came down hard on both his team’s defensive lapses and his goaltending.

“Every time we got momentum, they came down and got the goal they needed,” Boughner lamented. “We gave them life. It’s the responsibility of a goaltender, he’s got to come up with a save as well.”

Defense-first, or will they fall apart and cheat for offense under the slightest pressure?

“I think this one stung a little because we didn’t have the right approach,” Karlsson said.

So what will the Sharks learn from this sting?

A good team will seize this upcoming slate of softer December contests – a bad team will not.

“As a whole [during] the road trip, guys really battled and dug in,” Karlsson pointed out. “At the end of the day, we had one really bad period, and unfortunately, it cost us the game.”

This is, however, a not-very-deep San Jose Sharks squad that cannot afford too many bad shifts or periods or games. Of course, bad shifts or periods or games are inevitable – it’s more a mindset, knowing who you are and what you must do to succeed.

Boughner offered, hoping, “It’s a good lesson to learn.”

Welcome to your new home for San Jose Sharks breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to SJHN+ for all of our members-only content from Sheng Peng and the National Hockey Now network plus an ad-free browsing experience.

Sheng’s Travel Fund

Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.

Click here to contribute to Sheng's travel pool!

Get SJHN in your inbox!

Enter your email address to get all of our articles delivered directly to your inbox.

Hockey Shots

Extra Hour Hockey Training

Cathy’s Power Skating

Sharks Team & Cap Info

SJHN on Facebook