Thursday night’s loss to Phoenix was a difficult one for Team Teal in that it marked the second consecutive game they possessed a lead halfway through the contest, only to fall short at the end of the night. In both contests, San Jose scored the always important opening goal.
“We always say it is important to score first and to play a full 60 minutes,” said Steve Bernier. “When the game was tied, we were not able to score the important goal.”
“We had some good opportunities, but didn’t finish them,” said Captain Patrick Marleau
. “We could have used more. You’ve got to build on it when you get the lead.”
The four points left on the table the past two games were difficult to deal with since Columbus and Phoenix are beneath the Sharks in the standings.
“They’ve got players that took advantage of opportunities when they had them,” said Josh Gorges. “Anytime you play a team near the back of the pack, they just go play hard. We have to overcome that.”
“In both games, we had chances to put them down two midway through the game,” said Ron Wilson. “We didn’t have much energy.”
A turning point on the evening came when San Jose was on a five-on-three power play and the referee whistled interference against the Sharks. That eliminated the two-man advantage and led to Phoenix tying the game in a four-on-four situation. Phoenix also scored the game-winning goal on a power play to open the third.
“We took some bad penalties at the wrong time,” said Marleau. “When you have a five-on-three, you have a chance to put a team away. It was a big opportunity.”
It was not just the penalties that were a problem.
“The (five-on-three) could have made the difference,” said Ron Wilson. “I think back to one chance on the power play when the puck skipped over Bernier’s stick.”
The Sharks get a big opportunity to right their ship against the same Phoenix team Saturday night at HP Pavilion.
“We let two really important points slip away tonight,” said Scott Hannan. Everybody, including myself, needs to step it up.”
Steve Bernier continued his stellar play, setting up Milan Michalek on the Sharks opening tally and finishing a beautiful tic-tac-toe play to put San Jose up 2-1.
On the second tally, the Sharks skated in on a three-on-three rush, but Patrick Marleau
made an unbelievable move at the blueline to carry the zone.
“That was a perfect move and he showed everyone why he is one of the best players in the league,” said Bernier. “It was a great pass to Milan and he made a great pass to me for a goal.”
The Sharks had a scary moment on the ice when Jonathan Cheechoo took a puck to the leg and had to leave the ice.
“He took a shot on the thigh,” said Wilson. “He iced it down. I’m sure he won’t skate tomorrow and he’ll probably play on Saturday.”
TROUBLE WITH PHOENIX
The Coyotes have inexplicably had the Sharks number all season.
“They haven’t taken any games off and we have,” said Marleau.
And once against, longtime Sharks nemesis Curtis Joseph was a factor.
“We had tons of shots and he came up big,” said Marleau.
STREAKS BEGINNING AND ENDING
Alyn McCauley missed the game with a lower body injury, ending his streak of 169 consecutive games played. His streak ranks him sixth on the Sharks all-time list.
Steve Bernier stretched his goal-scoring streak to three games with a goal in the first period. Bernier also added an assist on Milan Michalek’s goal.
Milan Michalek registered his 8th multi-point game of the season with a goal and an assist. Michalek also scored his 16th goal of the season, putting him third on the Sharks rookie single season leader list in goals.
The Sharks host Phoenix again on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com. Tickets are available at the HP Pavilion ticket office and at www.ticketmaster.com.