For the San Jose Sharks, the point they earned on Thursday night against Minnesota put them back in a tie for first overall in the NHL, but it was the point that got away that had the team unhappy.
San Jose led 3-0 with less three minutes remaining in the second period when things began to unravel. Team Teal allowed two goals before the period ended and then things got worse in the third.
In a very unusual tying goal, a puck was simply dumped in towards the net and Brian Boucher appeared to be set to grab it with his catch glove. However, a bounce of the vulcanized rubber changed the shot’s direction at the last moment and allowed it to slide between Boucher’s pads.
It was a crazy bounce that not much could be done on, but Boucher was clearly unhappy about the events.
“That’s exactly what it did,” said Boucher about the bounce. “It took a bounce to the side and missed my glove. I’m pretty upset right now. I don’t like giving up that goal as much as the fans don’t like seeing it.”
Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan noted the problems stretched beyond the goaltender.
“It was flat out the bounce and it happens every one or two years,” said McLellan. “He’d love to have it back and we’d love to have it back. Letting them back in was the problem. We’re getting away from our game a bit. Tomorrow we’ll talk about our mindset late in the second and some defensive zone coverage.”
McLellan felt no need to console Boucher following the contest as he knows the veteran will handle the fluky play.
“Bouch has been around long enough,” said McLellan. “There is nothing I can say that will make him feel good about the bounce. The group in front of him allowed Minnesota to get back in it.”
The players feel the same as their coach.
“It’s unacceptable how we played the second half,” said Joe Pavelski
. “We were not as good in the defensive or the neutral zone. We have to make teams play 200 feet. Obviously we’re concerned a little bit.”
“We haven’t played consistent hockey for almost two months,” said Boucher.
The final nail in the coffin was the game-winner with 14 seconds left in overtime.
“Shot, save, rebound and they banged it home,” said Boucher.
The odd part of the night was how well the Sharks were playing before the tides turned.
“When it was 3-0, things were good,” said Boucher. “Then maybe we took our foot off the gas again and they came back. We’re not getting the same effort where we put teams away.”
“We played very well the first 38 minutes,” said McLellan. “Some of the issues we addressed the last couple of days we improved on. We’re a little fragile (right now).”
’s two goals gave him 20 on the season, making him the fourth Sharks player to reach the mark. It is a new career high for the Wisconsin product.
His line counted for all three Sharks goals and was an example of how good the Sharks can be when they stick with the plan.
“Driving the net and working to the inside,” said Pavelski. “We were desperate in the first half.”
Milan Michalek tied a career high for assists in a game with three. This is the fourth time Michalek has accomplished this feat, the last time being on Feb. 5, 2009 vs. Carolina. He now has 23 points in the last 22 games.
The Sharks tied a franchise record for fewest penalty minutes in a game with zero. They previously accomplished it on March 6, 2007 at Minnesota.
The Sharks will visit Vancouver on Saturday night at 7 and the contest will be available on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.