Sharks fans were able to see veteran defenseman Rivet in action for the first time on Friday night. Rivet, who was acquired on Feb. 25 from Montreal, had his first practice with San Jose on Thursday and wound up playing almost 22-and-a-half minutes and had the Sharks lone goal at 3:55 of the third period.
Rivet had missed nine straight games with pneumonia prior to the trade and Friday’s game was his first since Feb. 8. He started the night paired with Matt Carle and also saw time with Christian Ehrhoff.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve played,” Rivet said. “Obviously, I’m a little tired. I haven’t had a lot of time to practice with the team, either. It was nice to get the first game under the belt.”
Rivet’s goal, his seventh of the season, was San Jose’s lone tally on a night that saw Anaheim goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere stop 30 of San Jose’s 31 shots.
“The wins mean a lot more than the personal statistics,” Rivet said.
Of course, Wilson was happy with the goal.
“I think it was a huge addition getting Rivet,” he said. “He made plays and hopefully some of our D can understand it’s not that difficult to get pucks through to the net.”
CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR
What more can Sharks fans ask from their team?
In this four-game losing streak (the longest of the season), San Jose lost two by just one goal. On Friday night, the Sharks lost by a pair in Anaheim.
A closer look shows that San Jose has at least 30 shots in each of those defeats and has outshot the opponent three times.
Frustrated? Naturally. Down in the mouth? No.
“We worked hard, we had some chances and we put some pressure on them, but couldn’t capitalize,” defenseman Craig Rivet said. “We’re right there. We need to bear down a little more and be more alert when we have some scoring chances. We’re getting lots of opportunities. Things will come.”
“It’s encouraging that we’re getting so many scoring chances,” Joe Thornton
, who led San Jose with five shots.
Thornton said the Sharks need to expose the tendencies of the opposing goaltenders.
“We know that goalies go down in this league, so we need to learn to put it upstairs and get it off the ice,” he said. “We have to recognize what we need to do and start scoring some more goals.”
BEING STRONG WHEN SHORT
Everyone knows San Jose has the National Hockey League’s best power play. But one thing that concerns Coach Ron Wilson right now is the penalty kill.
On Friday night, Anaheim scored twice on five power play attempts. Nashville scored a pair on six tries Wednesday night. That’s four power play goals allowed in two games.
“We’ve been caught not pressuring enough,” Wilson said. “At the end, we didn’t get a defenseman with the stick in the right position, they made a pass and (Chris) Pronger just bombed it.
“The other one (Dustin Penner’s game-opening goal in the first period), we lost our positioning in front of the net and with a big body like Penner’s, he’s going to be able to put the puck away and he did.”
A POSTSEASON PRIMER
San Jose hasn’t fared well against the Pacific Division-leading Ducks this season. With one game remaining in the eight-game series with Anaheim, the Sharks have lost five times. But four of the seven have been one-goal decisions with each club winning twice.
On Sunday, the Sharks will be in Dallas to face the Stars. San Jose has won just two of the seven meetings against their other division rival.
“Obviously, they’re two good teams,” Thornton said. “When you play good teams, every inch counts. Tonight, if we get something here and there and score on that 5-on-3 (in the first period), it might’ve turned the tables. But, it’s good hockey to be a part of and it gets you ready for the postseason.”