You’re not going to keep winning games, getting doubled up in shots.
The San Jose Sharks were outshot 41-18 by the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday and managed to win 3-2. They were outshot 39-19 by the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday and pulled out a 2-1 victory.
The hope, of course, was that these wins, which snapped San Jose’s 11-game losing streak to start the season, were the first steps of a team finally finding some confidence. That they just needed some victories under their belt, and that would take a load off their minds so they could begin to play their best hockey.
That didn’t happen tonight, as the Sharks were shut out 5-0 and outshot 39-20 by the Vegas Golden Knights.
While it wasn’t a humiliating loss by any means – San Jose kept it close, not allowing a lot of high-danger chances, until a William Karlsson short-handed goal made it 3-0 early in the third period – Vegas was the better team, wire to wire.
Mikael Granlund focused on the Sharks’ offensive struggles.
“We need to defend a lot,” the veteran center said. “Hopefully, we can figure some things out and get to the O-zone more. Play with the puck a little more. That’s gonna help, individually, a lot of guys as well.”
Underscoring Granlund’s point, once again, OZ Possession Time at Even Strength, as had been the case pretty much all year, was tilted toward the opposition. Per SPORTLOGiQ, Vegas had the puck almost four times more in the offensive zone, 7:29 to 2:00.
San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn focused more on the defense.
“Our No. 1 problem was we just didn’t end plays. We got to people and they had way too much time and we didn’t kill plays,” he said. “That certainly was, in my mind, the story tonight.”
The truth is, they’re both right. It’s all connected. Better offense creates better defense – if you have the puck more, you taking pressure off the D – and better defense creates better offense – killing plays often leads to counterattacks.
And the truth is, the Sharks just aren’t a very good team, despite showing a lot of heart in their back-to-back wins.
Granlund and Quinn addressed the second-line center’s up-and-down play this year. Through seven games, the four-time 50-point scorer has just one assist.
Quinn touched on an actual bright spot tonight and gave an Anthony Duclair health update.
Mikael Granlund assesses the Sharks' loss to the Knights and where the team is at right now pic.twitter.com/kPkP0e0YwU
— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) November 11, 2023
Granlund, on what he’s liked about his game this year, and what needs improvement:
Overall, trying to play the 200-foot game.
Obviously, I try to help offensively too. There’s some good things.
As a team, I feel like we need to defend a lot.
Hopefully, we can figure some things out and get to the O-zone more. Play with the puck a little more. That’s gonna help, individually, a lot of guys as well.
Granlund, on if he thinks he can be better:
100 percent, I think I could be better. I think there’s a lot of guys in our team who feel like we need to be better. Hopefully, we can figure it out as a team, play better throughout the 60 minutes.
Defensively, first of all, but offensively too. There’s a lot of skill guys in our team too. Hopefully, we can find a way to get to the O-zone, play with the puck a little bit more.
See Quinn’s press conference here.
Quinn, on the defensive breakdowns tonight:
Our No. 1 problem was we just didn’t end plays. We got to people and they had way too much time and we didn’t kill plays.
Regardless of your D-zone system, if you can’t end one-on-one’s, you’re gonna have a hard time. That certainly was, in my mind, the story tonight.
Quinn really liked Eklund flying in to stand up for Zetterlund: "You gotta play like a team and protect each other and stand up for each other."
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) November 11, 2023
Quinn, on Granlund this season:
I thought he had a good night [against Edmonton] last night. Listen, he’s missed a lot of training camp and he’s been thrown in the fire right from the get-go. I think he’s had some good games, I know statistically, it’s not what he wants, but I’m pretty confident he’s gonna get going here from an offensive perspective.
Quinn confirms that it is indeed an illness that Duclair is dealing with
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) November 11, 2023
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