A promising road trip ended with a thud.
The Sharks finished 3-2-1 on their longest road trip thus far. They won their first three against the Capitals, Lightning and Panthers, but lost three straight against the Hurricanes, Blues and Coyotes. They are third in the Pacific division with a 9-8-1 record.
The result wasn’t what they were looking for, but San Jose was somewhat comforted by the fact they erased a two-goal deficit in the third period on Saturday night. They threw tons of rubber at Coyotes goalie Mike Smith and controlled play for extensive stretches. Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels forced overtime with two goals, but Martin Hanzal redirected a shot at 1:16 to earn two points for Arizona.
Pete DeBoer told Kevin Kurz: “We wanted two points tonight, and thought we played hard and maybe deserved them, but we didn’t get them.”
The Sharks deserve to be cut some slack because they’ve been on the road for the past 13 days. However, San Jose is supposed to be a Stanley Cup contender.
They will kick off a five-game homestand this Monday as they welcome the New Jersey Devils. The string of home games should be a breath of fresh air for the Sharks.
It will be game 19 of the Sharks’ season, but they are on the verge of being out of a playoff spot with one more loss. Each guy needs to increase his desperation level. Hockey is a team sport.
The Sharks’ power play has been idle as they have gone 0-for-3 last night, 1-for-20 over the last seven games and just 1-for-25 in its last 10 on the road. They have given up one power-play goal in each of their last two games.
Special teams could play a huge role in determining a winner. Therefore, the Sharks need to be more consistent on special teams when they return home. They rank 17th overall in power-play percentage.
The second line of Logan Couture, Joonas Donskoi and Joel Ward has struggled to get results so far this season. Last night, the trio combined for 15 shots, but none of them beat Smith.
It has been seemingly hard for the Sharks to find offense in the past couple of weeks. DeBoer has been shuffling his lines in search of offense. Perhaps a return home will spark something.
“We’ll go home, we’ll look at the tape, we’ll look at the road trip,” DeBoer told Curtis Pashelka. “I know we’ve played more road games than anybody in the league and that can’t be underestimated how tough that is. If we go home and make some hay, we’ll be in a good spot.”
Bottom line is, the Sharks need to get back on track.