A new coach did not bring a new result for the San Jose Sharks, and that has them back to the drawing board when they play host to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.
In their first game after replacing Pete DeBoer with Bob Boughner behind the bench, the same bad habits that had them on a horrid skid were front and center. During Thursday’s 6-3 loss to the New York Rangers, the Sharks were victimized by a dreadful third period in which they blew a lead, were guilty of bad penalties and ended up surrendering four straight goals.
“We really got to look in the mirror and start playing winning hockey,” captain Logan Couture said.
San Jose, which continues a seven-game homestand when it meets the Canucks, has lost four straight games in regulation and is on a 0-5-1 slide.
“They just had more jump than us in the third,” said goaltender Martin Jones, who has surrendered 20 goals in his last five games. “We’ve got to find a way in a tie hockey game to come out with a little bit more energy. I don’t know how many shots or scoring chances we had in the third, but we’ve got to find a way to put more pressure on in a close hockey game like that.”
San Jose mustered just 18 shots on goal against a Rangers team that averages 35 against per game.
“That’s not good enough, not nearly good enough, not close enough to good enough,” Couture said. “We passed up too many shots, which has been a story lately, and we weren’t hard enough winning battles in the o-zone.”
The Canucks hit San Jose having won three of four games, the latest a 1-0 overtime victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday, in which goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 43 saves for his first shutout of the season.
“It’s a great win,” Markstrom said. “We talked about how important this one was. We’re going on a couple-of-games road trip here and you don’t want to be in the hole when you get to the road. So a huge win. Just to stick to it and don’t get derailed and lose our purpose and how we should play. It was a great game.”
While the Canucks appear to have righted the ship — they won only five of 15 games before collecting the last few wins — they’ll be relying even more on Markstrom going forward. Backup goalie Thatcher Demko wasn’t dressed for the Carolina game due to a concussion suffered during practice the previous day.
Markstrom, who missed a stretch due to the death of his father before returning to Vancouver this week, may even be looking at playing on consecutive nights when the Canucks have a two-game trip to San Jose and Las Vegas. Thus the performance against Carolina was of utmost importance.
“I feel like I corrected the stuff I didn’t like in the Toronto game (a 4-1 loss on Tuesday),” Markstrom said. “I hadn’t played a game for about a week before that, so I was a little too excited and a little tense for that Toronto game. I just wanted to be a little more loose and relaxed, and I thought we did that.”
–Field Level Media