Too many things have to go right for the San Jose Sharks to win.
So on a night when James Reimer surrenders two soft goals, the top-ranked penalty kill gets touched up, Erik Karlsson doesn’t manage a point, who else is stepping up to bring the Sharks to the promised land?
No one else, apparently, as San Jose lost 5-2 to the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night.
That’s been the case for most of the season for the 7-13-3 Sharks.
They are 1-9-2 when they give up four or more goals.
They are 1-4-1 when their PK gives up a goal.
They are 1-7-0 when Karlsson doesn’t score a point.
“We’re finding ways again to lose hockey games,” captain Logan Couture said, “whereas when we were winning, we were finding a different way to win each night.”
That 3-1-0 road trip two weeks ago, highlighted by consecutive victories over the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, and Vegas Golden Knights, seems a distant memory now. The Sharks have lost four of five since then.
It’s not even that the Sharks played badly tonight. Despite the lopsided score, San Jose actually outchanced Los Angeles 12-10 Slot Shots in All Situations, per SPORTLOGiQ. But…
“We’re not here to just put together some pieces of a hockey game and feel good about it. We got to win hockey games,” head coach David Quinn said. “It just seems like we haven’t got everything going on the same night. When one part of our game is really good, the other one takes a step back and that’s been a challenge for us all year for the most part.”
But that’s the rub, right? How often does a team have everything going on the same night? It’s easy to win when you have everything going, but to Couture’s point, the good teams find ways to win even if everything isn’t going.
It all goes back to most everybody’s prediction about this team in September: This just isn’t a good team. They work hard, they have some stars, they have some decent support players, but it just isn’t enough combined to be better than, well, 7-13-3.
At the beginning of November, I wondered if Quinn could get the-then 3-8-1 Sharks going and avoid the Trade Deadline axe.
They’re 4-5-2 since then, and while there have been some positive signs, they’re not enough yet to think that the trades aren’t coming to San Jose, and soon.
“Every organization is balancing the present and the future, so we’re no different,” Quinn admitted. “When you’re not in the playoff spot, maybe the approach changes a little bit as you go through the season. If we’re in the same situation in two months, I would say that does change.”
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