Playing their second game in as many nights, the Sharks couldn’t quite muster the necessary effort to top St. Louis heading into the Christmas break.
“We didn’t have the energy to get that game,” said Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson. “You hoped their energy would sink since they were playing three in four nights, but we just didn’t have the energy to generate a forecheck. It wasn’t for lack of effort, we just didn’t have enough. We could have quit tonight, but we didn’t and found a way to get a point.”
“We didn’t create our own bounces,” said Tom Preissing. “It was a lot like last night. They were content to sit back and wait for our mistakes.”
It was a Sharks mistake that gave St. Louis their only goal in regulation. While on the power play, the Blues forced a turnover and turned into their own advantage.
“We didn’t do anything on the power play that they scored shorthanded,” said Preissing. “That was the difference in the game.”
San Jose was not at the top of their game, but the Blues Jason Bacashihua, a first round pick by Dallas in 2001, deserves much of the credit for stopping 21 of 22 shots in the victory.
“He won the game for them,” said Preissing. “I don’t think we challenged his as much as we should have, but he did what he had to do and only gave up one goal.”
“They played well on defense, but we didn’t get pressure on them,” said Marleau. “A lot of times the puck would go to where the support should be, but no one was there. We didn’t win the battles again.”
San Jose has faced similar defensive attacks the past two contests and will need to make some adjustments.
“Teams are sitting back the last two games,” said Wilson. “We have to adjust.
POWER PLAY San Jose’s power play was critical in the six-game winning streak, but it couldn’t find a goal against the Blues despite several opportunities.
“We need more shots to the net,” said Marleau. “That is a big part of it. We need to move it around and keep it simple.”
RALLY It looked as if San Jose would not even gain one point on the evening as St. Louis was up 1-0 heading toward the final minute. Then Mark Smith took over and set up the late tying goal. He controlled the puck behind the St. Louis net and then found Nils Ekman driving toward the slot. Ekman did his part to bury the puck and force overtime.
“They thought Smitty was coming around the net,” said Ekman. “It was a good play.”
A victory would have provided another point, but trailing in the 58th minute, San Jose should appreciate that one point is better than none.
“It’s good to get the point, but we let the win slip through our fingers,” said Marleau.
REVIEW With the game still on the line during the shootout, the referee on the ice did not rule Jonathan Cheechoo’s shootout effort a goal. Prior to the recent Board of Governors meeting, the on-ice officials would not have been able to go to the video review booth.
Since the rules were tweaked, the booth upstairs made the right call and the shootout continued for one more rule.
NABOKOV STRONG The only tally Evgeni Nabokov allowed was a shorthanded breakaway tally in 28 shots.
“Nabby played great,” said Wilson. “We made a poor play on the power play and they took advantage.
McLAREN WAITS Defenseman Kyle McLaren sat out Friday’s contest as he looks to possibly join his teammates on the ice Monday in Los Angeles. The big blueliner skated in warmups Friday against St. Louis, but the decision was made to keep him out and gain an additional three days of rest on the recently scoped knee.
“I just need to be cleared to play,” said McLaren who not only skated in warmups, but joined the pregame soccer warmup drills with several of his teammates.
INJURY BUG In addition to missing McLaren, the Sharks also had to play much of the contests shorthanded as injuries limited the ice time of Marcel Goc and Scott Parker.
“Parksy dropped out and so did Marcel,” said Wilson.