“We gotta start on time.”
Bob Boughner could only offer the obvious after the San Jose Sharks got outshot 15-4 and outscored 2-0 in the opening frame, en route to a 5-4 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
It was another devastating loss after the Edmonton Oilers came into SAP Center and took a 3-0 decision on Monday.
The Sharks had come out of the All-Star break hoping to gain ground on the Oilers and the Canucks in the playoff race.
Instead, they dropped their fifth in a row, and are six points behind the Los Angeles Kings for the last post-season spot in the West.
So in a contest so crucial, why did the San Jose Sharks come out flat?
“I couldn’t tell you,” Boughner said.
San Jose has 34 games to go in the regular season, but considering that they have to leapfrog the Anaheim Ducks, Dallas Stars, Winnipeg Jets, and Vancouver for that last wild card spot — counting the Sharks, that’s five teams for a lone post-season berth — they’re running out of a time to figure themselves out and make a move.
“The last few games, we didn’t play our best,” Timo Meier acknowledged. “We got to start now, or else it’s gonna be a long, long season.”
At least for the Sharks, Timo Time is still ticking.
Meier had been mired in a mini-slump with zero goals and one assist in his last six games. But the Sharks’ lone All-Star was truly dominant last night.
His two goals gave him a team-leading 23 for the season and his assist added to his team-leading 50 points.
What’s special about those numbers? In 2019-20, Meier won the media-voted Team MVP with 22 goals and 49 points in 70 games — so the 25-year-old winger has just eclipsed those totals in 43 games this year.
It was a truly special night for Meier, who also assisted on the fourth buzzer-beater to tie a game in San Jose Sharks history.
Per Evolving Hockey, Meier uncorked a personal-best 14 shot attempts last night. His previous career-high was 13, achieved three times — twice this season, once again underscoring the caliber of season that he’s having.
“Every game he just drags it to the net,” his centerman Tomas Hertl, who picked up a pair of assists, noted. “That’s kind of what I’m trying to do, I try to find him. I still call myself more a passer than a shooter. And he likes to shoot, so I just give it to him. But he was really good. He’s been good all season for us.”
Case in point:
Meier (28) walks J.T. Miller (9) — then Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23) actually defends the hard-charging winger reasonably well, but Meier outmuscles him for a chance.
Whatever happens this season to the San Jose Sharks — perhaps a third straight campaign out of the playoffs and a trade of fan favorite Hertl — enjoy Meier’s epic season.
He’s been worth the price of admission on most nights.
He’s flirting with a pace that could make him the Sharks’ first 40-goal scorer since Joe Pavelski popped 41 in 2013-14 and the first 90-point scorer since Joe Thornton notched 96 in 2007-08. Right now, Meier’s on pace for 39 goals and 85 points.
There have actually been just four 40-goal and four 90-point campaigns in franchise history.
Meier, however, could not enjoy the fruits of his labor — “All I care about is the team points,” the deflated star said after the defeat — but we can.
Sheng’s Travel Fund
Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.