San Jose Sharks Panic, Lose Outdoors To Kings


It just seems to be the same story every single time it happens, and it appears to be no different outdoors. Tonight, the San Jose Sharks took on the Los Angeles Kings outdoors at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, and even though they started slow, giving up a goal to Kyle Clifford after failing to get it out of the zone 8 times (exaggeration but they had ample chances), they got a late goal in the period by Brent Burns, and things turned around. The entire 2nd period was full of great chances by the Sharks, including two great opportunities by Logan Couture that he could not convert on. It was frustrating, but they looked dominant, and that was comforting. Despite the dominating looks, they couldn’t put one past Jonathan Quick, and they went into the 3rd period tied at 1. When they came out for the 3rd, they looked pretty good. Not as dominant as the 2nd period, but they played well. However, Brent Burns gave the puck away to Marian Gaborik who did not miss, blasting a slap shot past Antti Niemi.

That’s when everything went downhill.

The Sharks have made it a habit this year of panicking when they don’t have the lead, and it showed tonight. It was only a one goal game, and there was still the better part of 16 minutes to get a tying goal. It did not matter. The Kings dominated the next 11 minutes of play, getting multiple scoring chances as the Sharks continued to turn the puck over, and miss easy passes, just begging the Kings to put them down by 2. With 5 minutes left, the Sharks started to turn things around, and had a couple good chances, but it was too little too late, and the Kings held on to win outdoors by the score of 2-1.

This theme is getting really annoying. We hear about score effects all the time. The team that is winning in the 3rd period likes to sit back, play a more defensive game while the team trailing battles hard to get the tying goal. It’s a common known theme around the NHL, and the Sharks refuse to take part in it. When they give up the leading goal, no matter what the period, the Sharks start playing like the ice is tilted on their end. Tuesday in Nashville was the perfect showcase of that, and tonight was no different. This game was a must win because of the playoff push, and the games in hand that the Kings have over the Sharks, and when the Kings took the lead in the 3rd, the Sharks showed no interest in getting it back, even with the possibility of missing the playoffs for the first time in 10 years a very real possibility.

Playoff teams win these types of games, or at least show the effort to get back into it. Tonight, the Sharks showed that effort in the final 5, but wasted 11 minutes playing like garbage, and proved tonight they need to be a lot better if they want to make the playoffs.

To be honest, it’s probably better for this team to miss it at this point, and get the fate they deserve with the way they’ve played this season.