San Jose Sharks: Good, Bad And The Ugly From Pittsburgh

The San Jose Sharks can continue to learn from the Pittsburgh Penguins to whom they lost the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The San Jose Sharks can continue to learn from the Pittsburgh Penguins to whom they lost the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

There haven’t been many positives for San Jose to take from the first couple of games, but the play of Martin Jones is certainly one of them.

It was just three days ago when fans of the San Jose Sharks were filled with excitement and dreaming of just four more wins.

Following two sub-par performances against the Pittsburgh Penguins, there is a sense of doom-and-gloom surrounding team teal after Conor Sheary’s overtime winner gave the Penguins a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup finals.

Despite being outplayed for long stretches of both contests, San Jose has been just one shot away from winning each game. All is not lost for the Sharks, who head back to the Shark Tank where they’ve been dominant in this postseason.

As the old saying goes, a series doesn’t begin until a home team loses, and the Penguins did a great job of holding serve.

With that in mind, let’s look back at the good, the bad and the ugly for team teal in the Stanley Cup finals.

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The Good: Martin Jones and Tomas Hertl

Jones has been the best player on the ice for the Sharks in these Cup Finals as he’s been stellar in keeping team teal afloat.

He’s been peppered with 71 shots through the first two games, posting a very respectable 2.47 GAA and a .930 save percentage. Jones has covered up many of the deficiencies of his teammates, and his composure has really stood out.

He’s calm and confident between the pipes and has held strong despite many quality chances thrown his way from the Penguins.

One of the few skaters that has acquitted himself well in these Finals is Hertl, who is constantly around the puck. He scored the franchise’s first goal in the Stanley Cup and could’ve easily scored in both games as he hit the post on three different occasions in Game 2.

Imagine if just one of those had gone in? What a different game it might have been.

The Bad: Failure to Apply Pressure

San Jose has really struggled to apply pressure on Pittsburgh in this series as they haven’t held the lead in any of the first two games. The visitors were always playing catch up, while the home team was able to dictate the pace of play.

To illustrate this fact, Pittsburgh has outshot San Jose by a 26-10 margin in the opening 20 minutes of this series.

The Sharks have allowed the Penguins to settle in and play their game. Matt Murray hasn’t been tested nearly enough as team teal has only shown up in spurts thus far.

With the Sharks returning home, San Jose will hope the friendly confines of the Shark Tank will help in turning the tide against the Penguins.

The Ugly: Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers

To anyone watching this series, it’s clearly evident that San Jose has been killed by multiple giveaways.

Pittsburgh’s speed is a distinct advantage and they are using it create havoc for the Sharks. San Jose’s decision-making and moving of the puck is way too slow, resulting in offensive chances for the Penguins.

Phil Kessel’s goal in Game 2 was a direct result of a misplay in their own zone. Too many mishaps are happening when a Sharks player has the puck on his stick.

Next: Sharks: Three Takeaways From Game Two

If San Jose doesn’t clean up the turnovers in their own zone and the neutral zone, this will be a very quick series.

The Sharks have only played well for maybe two of the six-plus periods thus far and that just won’t cut it when you’re playing for the ultimate prize.