For as good as the first 20 minutes of action were for the Sharks, the final 40 were just the opposite in their 5-2 loss against Los Angeles.
Click here for pictures (PICS
) and video (QUOTES
) from Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Kings.
“In the first, we put the puck in deep on the forecheck,” said Marc-Edouard Vlasic
. “The first shift of the game, were in their zone for a minute.”
The first 20 minutes was an amazing display of what the Sharks can do. The posted a season high 21 first period shots (47 for the game) and the Kings were fortunate to be down just 1-0.
“Their goalie played unbelievable in keeping them in the game,” said Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson. “We lost our patience.”
While San Jose had many pretty chances, their lone first period goal came when Patrick Marleau
’s line took five shots in close before the Captain was able to come around to the back side for a wraparound.
When San Jose scored a late third period tally, it was due to traffic in front.
“We’ve got to crash the net,” said Marc-Edouard Vlasic
. “Jumbo (Joe Thornton
) got his goal right in front. We have to get back to it.”
However, San Jose surrendered three goals in the second and simply could not recover.
“We faced a bump in the road and a bunch of tires fell off,” said Wilson. “We have to lick our wounds, dig in and be mentally tough.”
“We were strong in the first, but we let up,” said Vlasic.
The effort was there, but it may not have been targeted correctly.
“We worked hard, but not smart,” said Vlasic.
San Jose saw turnovers and chaos directly result in the Kings tallies.
“There are breakdowns and we have to put them behind us,” said McLaren.
“In the second, a couple of times we didn’t do the little things to get the puck in or out,” said Sandis Ozolinsh. “Those things cost us.”
While strong on the road, San Jose has surprisingly struggled early at HP Pavilion, posting a 1-3 mark.
“Maybe after a long trip you want to (do too much) at home,” said Kyle McLaren. “Hopefully this was a wakeup call. We’ve got to start winning games at home. This is not what we want.”
The Sharks are 15 percent into their 2007-08 campaign, and sitting just one point out of first in the Pacific Division, but they would like to step up their point production and return to first place.
“It’s still early, but we can’t keep saying it,” said Marleau. “We have to have the sense of urgency we had in the first.
Sandis Ozolinsh skated out of the Sharks head for the first time since the 1995-96 season and showed some of the same talents from more than a decade ago. For Vlasic, his defensive partner on the night, it was different type of play than he was used to. Ozolinsh kept the Kings defense on their toes, dipping down to the high-reward scoring areas and banging his stick for the puck when he wanted to launch a one-timer.
“I haven’t had a partner like that,” said Vlasic. “It was nice to play with him tonight. If he’s open, I’m looking to get him the puck.”
“He played pretty well,” said Wilson. “He had a problem with his edges. It’s been a long time since he’s played at this level. He’ll get better.”
Ozolinsh felt he and Vlasic had a bit of chemistry.
“I felt comfortable reading him,” said Ozolinsh. “I felt safe playing with him. I hope he did too.”
Ozolinsh noted it took him a while to truly feel comfortable after not playing since his last contest with the Rangers in 2006-07.
“I felt good,” said Ozolinsh. “In the first, I got caught on a long shift and got out of rhythm. If felt good physically. It took me until the second period. That’s when the shackles came off and I got going. The second half of the game, I felt a lot more comfortable.”
The Latvian blueliner likes the possibilities of this version of the Sharks.
“We have a lot of potential,” said Ozolinsh.
CLOSING ON 500
With his goal, Marleau is now jut four point shy of 500 NHL points.
Christian Ehrhoff played in his 200th career NHL game.
San Jose was whistled for just one penalty on the night.
2 IN A ROW
With an assist in the third period, Devin Setoguchi picked up his third career point (2-1=3) in his second NHL game.
The Sharks will play L.A. in the second of a back-to-back set, with the 7:30 p.m. PST start available on 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.