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Sharks Locker Room: Quinn Praises Eklund’s ‘More Complete’ Game, Hertl on Blocking Out Outside

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The San Jose Sharks played their first home game after starting Thanksgiving early with a 7-1 loss in Seattle on Wednesday.

The team desperately needed to bounce back after what Anthony Duclair called “unacceptable hockey.”

Today’s Sharks were far from that. San Jose played a more aggressive, offensive game, and for the first time this season, outshot their opponent (33-24). However, they earned just one point in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

That single point didn’t come easy though.

For most of the first period, we saw the same old Sharks. Lack of offensive power and Mackenzie Blackwood making impressive saves — it all felt like a deja vu.

The Sharks needed a catalyst. And that catalyst came in the form of the power play that Nico Sturm earned for the team at the end of the first. During those two PP minutes, the Sharks really put the Habs goalie through the test, taking five shots — more than they had after the first 16 minutes of the game.

The Sharks had found a groove. And they kept the momentum going in the second period, which finally resulted in goals.

First, Mike Hoffman, who celebrated his 34th birthday, scored a one-timer after a picture-perfect pass from William Eklund. Seven minutes later, it was Eklund’s turn to score with an upstairs power play one-timer, 2-0. Tomas Hertl had assists in both goals.

The Habs, however, answered with two goals and tied the game — 2-2 in regulation.

In the shootout, Blackwood shined with four saves, and Eklund was the only Shark to score. While it wasn’t enough for a win, this hard-earned point and more offensive hockey made David Quinn optimistic about what’s next for the team.

Quinn, Hertl, Eklund, and Hoffman all spoke after the game.

David Quinn

Quinn, on Eklund’s game:

He played a much more complete game. That’s the player that we need. He’s always got the ability to create some offense.

One of the things that he and I talked about before today, was we thought his game was slipping a little bit in the areas that he’s going to need to be consistently good at. From a compete and a pace standpoint, I thought his game was slipping a little bit. Which can happen, especially when you’re a young player learning to grow in the National Hockey League.

That’s one thing I always love about him. He’s a coachable kid, and once you talk about something it’s usually done.

Quinn, on Zetterlund:

He’s had a great year. Statistically, I’m sure he wants more, and we’d love him to get more. But you keep playing the way he is, good things will happen for him. He’s been relentless all year, you just love his effort and his attitude.

Quinn, on the game-tying Cole Caufield goal:

They made a play, and it was a bad read to give up the 2-on-1. You can’t do that. You just can’t give up that 2-on-1.

We talked about the F3. We had an offensive opportunity. And through the change of possession, we got a little confused.

Unfortunately, we didn’t recognize the situation quick enough.
Our D’s just gotta get out and get above all nine guys. And we didn’t. We stood and looked at the puck and it cost us.

Quinn, on the San Jose Sharks power play:

100 percent it was the best it’s been all season. The pace of it. The work ethic.

I thought what happened was after our first power play, we became more confident as a group. You can really feed off your power play.

I thought that’s what we did at the end of the first period.

Quinn, on the return of Nico Sturm:

He just gives us a strong NHL body who plays honest and does everything you want. It’s good to have him back.

Quinn, on Blackwood:

Mackenzie has been great in everything. Tonight was no different. It was good to see we didn’t give up 400 shots, so that was a step in the right direction.

William Eklund

Eklund, on what the San Jose Sharks discussed before this game after Wednesday’s rout:

Obviously, we didn’t compete as hard as we can Wednesday. We just talked to each other and what we got to do better. It’s a lot about the compete level, compete level has got to be higher. I thought we did a better job of it.

Mike Hoffman

Hoffman, on scoring five goals in five games:

That helps when you’re contributing to your team. That’s what I’m here to do. Keep it going for as long as possible.

Tomas Hertl

Hertl, on Mike Hoffman’s inclusion on his line:

He’s scored a lot of goals. He can find a spot. Two good periods, we had some chances. Hopefully, we can build up for the next game. Score a few more goals.

 

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