November Pain- The San Jose Sharks have had a month of November that they could have never seen coming. Andrew Ladd scored the game tying goal with 1:43 remaining in the third period, then followed it up with the game winning score in the shootout round to give the Winnipeg Jets a 5-4 win over Team Teal. The Sharks with the Shootout Loss remain winless in November (0-1-4) as well as for their last five games. This was also the first game of a five game road swing for the Sharks who will certainly need to find some answers along the way. The Sharks in this game were able to build a two goal lead twice however were unable to hold onto it. The Jets in the game outshot the Sharks 46-34 and for much of the game outworked the Sharks even when Team Teal held the lead. Though Antti Niemi made 42 saves in his return to the net after a bad game this past Thursday Night against Vancouver, once the Jets finally scored in the second period he was fairly shaky for the rest of the game. It also did not help that the Sharks in their own defensive zone allowed Winnipeg to control much of the play as they gave up several scoring chances throughout the evening. Despite playing better Sunday night than in their previous game the Sharks still were making enough miscues which allowed the Jets to hang around and be in position to take the game. The Sharks also were robbed of another overtime goal when Patrick Marleau’s apparent game winner in overtime was called “no goal” after Tommy Wingles was ruled to have interfered with Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec. This marks the second time in five days that the Sharks lost a goal in the overtime period only to go on to lose in a shootout that maybe should have never happened in the first place.
Dan Boyle’s Big Night- Dan Boyle had two power play goals on the evening. The first marker came at the 14:04 mark of the opening when he took a feed pass from Joe Pavelski before drilling a hard slap shot from the point which beat Pavelec. Boyle would beat Pavelec again in the third period taking another feed pass from Logan Couture and placing the puck in an open area of the net. The second power play goal gave the Sharks a 4-3 lead barely four minutes into the third period. The power play goals proved crucial as they gave the Sharks a chance at the win even with the Jets controlling much of the play on the ice. Thomas Hertl scored his 10th goal of the season in the first period while Tommy Wingles notched his fifth goal of the season in the second period which gave the Sharks a 3-1 lead at that juncture.
Jets Keep Up The Pressure- The Jets trailed the Sharks 2-0 after the first period despite outshooting Team Team 15-9. However this did not discourage Winnipeg as they came out even harder in the second period. After killing off the latter part of a Sharks power play that carried over into the middle period the Jets got to work on hammering Niemi with multiple scoring attempts. The Jets finally broke through at 6:12 of the second period when former Chicago Blackhawk Michael Frolik was able to wrist a puck past Niemi. Moments later with the Sharks again up by two goals, another former Blackhawk Dustin Byfuglien drilled a slap shot that beat his former Blackhawk teammate Niemi to cut the Sharks lead to 3-2 at the 8:38 mark of the period. The Jets continued to push the envelope for most of the period as they were faster to all loose pucks and were able to launch 17 more shots on goal towards Niemi. With just under three minutes remaining in the middle period Grant Clitsome took a feed pass from Ladd and was able to drill another slap shot that beat Niemi. It looked at first as if Blake Wheeler may have gotten a high stick on the shot but the goal was allowed. In the third period again the Sharks were again unable to prevent the Jets from getting a good number of chances in their zone. Despite Boyle’s goal four minutes into the period the Sharks were just not able to gain any firm control of the game. Ladd’s goal late in the period was the culmination of the Jets just outworking the Sharks for control of the puck and play. In the shootout Niemi was able to stop Wheeler and Bryan Little before Ladd was able to get the game winner. Meanwhile neither Couture, Wingles or Boyle could solve Pavelec. When it was all said and done, the Sharks again left the ice with more questions than answers.
Getting Outworked Is Becoming An Issue- In the last five games in which the Sharks have failed to win there seems to be one common thread. All five of their last opponents have flat-out outworked the Sharks on the ice. The Sharks have also been very turnover prone especially in their own zone or in the neutral zone. The Jets Sunday were the latest team to get to loose pucks faster and do a lot more with their opportunities. This is resulting in the Sharks spending a lot more time trapped in their zone and trying to keep Niemi from getting shelled. The Sharks did not seem to have these problems early on. This could be happening for lots of reasons and the coaching staff really needs to take a look at what is the cause and what can be done to resolve it. The Sharks know that as of late getting into shootouts and even overtime games has not sat well with them. The Sharks need to look back to see what was working for them in October and how they can find away to integrate that success back into their game. It may be little things however even with that it’s put Team Teal in too many bad spots. Sunday in Winnipeg they could not close out the Jets. Even with the recent goal controversies against Buffalo and now Winnipeg, the Sharks have to find away to not get themselves in those situations to begin with. The Sharks being on the road need to use this trip to pull together as a team. Only then can they begin to solves these problems.
Next Sharks Game- The Sharks travel to Calgary to take on the Flames in the Saddle Dome Tuesday Night. The puck drops at 6pm PT (7pm MT in Calgary)…
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