The San Jose Sharks were shut out 3-0 by the Carolina Hurricanes, and somehow, that was an improvement over getting routed 6-0 by the Tampa Bay Lightning yesterday.
So while tonight might indeed be a step in the right direction, the Sharks are still a team that can’t score – 151:30 without a goal – and can’t win – they’re 0-7-1, one regulation loss from tying 1993-94’s franchise-worst 0-8-1 start.
Kaapo Kahkonen made 37 saves in the losing effort, while Nico Sturm and Mike Hoffman both hit posts.
On the bright side, 21-year-old William Eklund, like he was Tuesday in Florida, was arguably San Jose’s best player.
“He was buzzing. For him, he’s just getting better and better,” Kyle Burroughs said. “We’re looking for him to take steps forward and become the dominant player he can be.”
“The puck was on his stick all night long. I thought he was playing with a lot of confidence. Making plays,” head coach David Quinn said. “That line [with Sturm and Luke Kunin] was good tonight. That line was good all night long. He was driving it.”
Hopefully, the Sharks take another step in the right direction on Sunday and cap off their road trip with a victory over the Washington Capitals. A repeat performance from Eklund and the probable return of Mikael Granlund could help the Sharks avoid franchise history.
After the game, Eklund agreed that his game is on the uptick recently.
Burroughs talked about running the top power play unit, and what they can do to snap the Sharks’ scoreless streak.
Mike Hoffman talked about what the team needs to do to start scoring again.
Quinn shared that he told Eklund to look to Brayden Point as a model for who to play like. Also, he told us why Matt Benning was scratched and thinks that Mikael Granlund will play on Sunday against the Caps.
Eklund, on if he feels that this game and Tuesday’s Florida performance are signs that he’s playing better than he was at the start of the season:
Yes, when I get the puck, I want to hold on to it. I want to play better games. I want to get better everyday.
I think I did that a couple of games now. I want to get on the scoresheet too.
Burroughs, on getting more offense from the power play:
Power plays are having success when they’re simple, shooting pucks. It’s easier said than done.
We just have to get pucks to the net, play simple. That’s our strength, we got good, skilled guys. Especially for me, I’m just trying to get the puck to those guys.
If I get a chance to shoot, shoot, keep it simple that way.
Burroughs, on Eklund:
He was buzzing. For him, he’s just getting better and better.
We’re looking for him to take steps forward and become the dominant player he can be.
See the interview here.
Hoffman, on how the team gets out of its scoring slump:
How you get out of it is sticking together. I mean, it’s players in the locker room. We’re the ones that are gonna have to do it. There’s no one coming to help us. No one coming to save us.
Hoffman, on Eklund’s performance:
I thought he possessed the puck well in the third period there. He showed a little bit of grit as well, giving it back to their defense that was kind of cross-checking him a little bit. You like to see that fire in a guy like that.
See the interview here.
Quinn, on Eklund’s game:
He played well. The puck was on his stick all night long. I thought he was playing with a lot of confidence. Making plays. That line was good tonight. That line was good all night long. He was driving it.
Quinn, on if he’s ever experienced a losing streak like this:
No, I haven’t. But listen, this game tests you and everybody goes through losing streaks at some point in the time of the season. Ours happens to be early and it’s a little bit longer than anybody would like.
But I’ve got a lot of faith in this group. After last night, it would have been easy to come in here and lay an egg. We did anything but that. I thought that we were competitive, had some chances to make it 2-1, and unfortunately, they went down, made it 3-0. You could kind of feel the wind come out of our sails a little bit, got a little bit deflated, and it’s understandable, what we’ve been through. So I’m just proud of our effort tonight. I thought we did a lot of good things.
Probably get Granlund back for Sunday, another healthy body for us that might inject a little bit more positivity to the group.
Quinn says that Benning has been playing through a lower-body issue, so giving him a night off helps with that and clears his head too. We'll see if he slides back in on Sunday.
Also, Quinn repeated his earlier optimism about Granlund, saying he's "probably" going to play Sunday
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) October 28, 2023
Quinn, on Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s return to the line-up:
I’ll have to watch the film to give you a more honest assessment.
Quinn, on the edge that Eklund played with tonight:
He played with an attitude today, which he’s gonna have to play with.
He and I talked about that in Tampa, it was actually a little bit [about Brayden Point]. Why does Point produce so much offense at this level? It’s not cuteness, it’s not skills, which he certainly has, it’s way more about an attitude and a pace.
If he’s going to be the player we think he’s capable of, he’s got to continue to add that to his game.
So I certainly liked a lot about his game tonight.
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