David Quinn said something that seemed curious this morning.
“If there’s a measuring point for our season,” the San Jose Sharks bench boss said, “I think it’s the Vancouver Canucks.”
That’s the NHL-best 23-9-3 Canucks, who handed the NHL-worst 9-22-3 Sharks a 7-4 loss on Saturday night, to conclude their season series.
Suffice to say, in many ways, the two teams couldn’t be more different.
But there’s also some truth too in Quinn’s observation.
San Jose and Vancouver have already faced off four times this season.
On Nov. 2, the Sharks, in the midst of their 0-10-1 start, were blown out by the Canucks 10-1. It was the nadir of their year, until the Pittsburgh Penguins followed with a 10-2 beating two nights later.
On Nov. 20, San Jose, finally with some victories under their belt, competed but surrendered a back-breaking short-handed goal in the third period to lose 3-1 to Vancouver.
Then on Nov. 25, the Sharks kicked off their best hockey of the season with a 4-3 victory over the Canucks, going 6-2-1 through Dec. 12.
San Jose leaves Vancouver in a different place once again tonight, on a five-game losing streak headed into Christmas.
And while Quinn didn’t sweep his team’s mistakes under the rug – chiefly, poor puck management and soft net front defense – it’s also worth noting that the Sharks came back from down 2-0 to tie it, and down 4-2 and 5-3 to make it a one-goal game.
“We gotta realize how close we are to winning hockey games. That’s the thing that’s frustrating. We’ve got to make that next step,” he said.
That could be that extra goal, defensive play, or save. And it could be a while before the rebuilding organization gets those consistently. That’s reserved for some of the better teams in the league, like the Canucks.
San Jose isn’t there yet. But what we have seen is the best and worst from them in this “measuring stick” series.
Mikael Granlund, Tomas Hertl, Fabian Zetterlund, and Jacob MacDonald scored in a losing effort.
After the game, Quinn defended MacKenzie Blackwood and praised Mario Ferraro, Blackwood shared his thoughts on where his game is at, and Ferraro talked about what he liked and didn’t like about his three-assist performance.
See all of Quinn’s interview here
Quinn, on staying close with the NHL-leading Canucks:
We gotta realize how close we are to winning hockey games. That’s the thing that’s frustrating. We’ve got to make that next step.
But there’s a lot to like about what’s going on with our team.
I feel bad for our goalie because you can’t blame him on any of [the goals].
Quinn, on how the San Jose Sharks could’ve defended better, especially the three tip goals against:
Our defensemen have to be way harder around the net and before these guys get to them. It’s too easy to get to our net right now and it’s too easy to stand in front of our net right now.
Quinn, on Ferraro’s recent offensive output, seven points in his last 14 games:
I love everything about his game. I really do. I think he’s playing with such poise and confidence. From an offensive perspective, his decision-making, when to get involved, it’s been very good.
I just love his mentality. This is the best hockey he’s played since I’ve been here. Over the last five, six weeks. Talking with some of our other players that have watched him here, this is the best hockey he’s played period. So just really happy for him.
See all of Blackwood’s interview here
Blackwood, on if he can be better on Vancouver’s three tip goals or those are just bad bounces:
You just try to do the best you can and try and get big. Take away the angle.
You’re not a superhero, you don’t have freaking superhero reflexes. You just try to get big, take away their angle, and if they beat you with a good tip, not really much you can do.
Blackwood, on what he thinks about his game recently:
I actually like overall how my game is, maybe there’s a couple of things that we have to work on, here and there. Keep ’em sharp.
See all of Ferraro’s interview here
Ferraro, on his increased offensive output recently:
I don’t really know, to be honest with you. I just kind of been trying to take care of my own end and play simple and play the way I need to play and play north.
But like I said, it’s bittersweet for me tonight, because I like the things that I did offensively. But like you brought up, that [Pius Suter] tip goal, I wish I could have taken a stick away, just little things like that I didn’t get away with tonight.
Offense, it’s not something really I’m focusing on, I think it’s just kind of been coming because I’m playing a little bit more calm and taking care of my own end.
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