The Sharks definitely didn’t get a quick fix from their two-hour meeting on Friday as they fell to the Ducks 5-2 Saturday night. The loss was the Sharks third in as many games (all at home) and the club held a brief gathering following the contest.
“I don’t think we were unprepared,” said Joe Pavelski
. “There was a big time lack of execution. We’ve got to get over the hump. We’re not a bad hockey team. We have to keep going and keep believing. Maybe we have to take one step back to take one step forward.”
“Obviously, this was not the outcome we were looking for,” said Craig Rivet. “A lot of things were said that were heartfelt (on Friday). This team will not stay down. It is a great bunch. We’re not where we want to be, but we’ll never quit.”
Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson was clearly not accepting the results.
“The same people were not ready to compete when it mattered the most,” said Wilson. “You see someone coming hard and you pass the problem to someone else. You (have to) take a hit to make a play. If someone makes a mistake, you block a shot to help out.”
The Sharks knew the Friday meeting wasn’t just a quick fix, but they wanted better than Saturday’s results.
“It’s a process,” said Sharks Captain Patrick Marleau
. “Everyone’s got to do their part. For me it’s leading by example, playing hard and doing the little things. It’s a team game and it takes us all to win games.”
Now the Sharks appear to be in the circle of trying too hard, but in doing so, they are making their struggles more difficult.
“We need to relax out there,” said Rivet. “We’re putting pressure to do too much and you can see it in the play of a number of guys. It may not look like it, but we’re trying to do too much.”
“We’re lacking a bit of confidence scoring goals,” said Mike Grier. “It’s almost like an oxymoron. The harder you work to dig in, the harder it becomes. It’s best to clear our heads, relax and have some fun.”
Most NHLers made it this far with quite a bit of skill and that needs to find a way to surface.
“We have a lot of natural ability and we need to let it take over,” said Grier.
The players are a close knit group and will continue to support each other through this difficult stretch.
“We’ve been a solid road team because of our chemistry,” said Rivet. “We care about each other like family members and I haven’t felt like this with any other team.”
San Jose’s three game losing streak is, oddly enough, all coming at HP Pavilion, traditionally one of the leagues loudest buildings. Maybe the post Christmas four-game road trip will improve the club’s luck.
“We don’t play the same style on the road,” said Rivet. “We’re looser.”
“One big question the every fan has is (are we frustrated), but we’re as frustrated as they are,” said Pavelski.
It is still amazing the Sharks are better on the road than at home as virtually every other club is, no matter what the league.
“That’s the million dollar question,” said Grier. “We all enjoy being at home and playing in front of friends and family.”
The Sharks will practice on Sunday before having December 24 and 25 off for Christmas.
“We’ll have an interesting practice tomorrow and see if some players back up their words,” said Wilson.
The Ducks game-winning goal, and the true back-breaker on the night, came in the second period, providing the
Ducks a 3-0 lead. On the scenario, Christian Ehrhoff sent the puck up ice from behind the goal line, but it was intercepted by Scott Niedermayer, who then set up the Chris Kunitz tally.
“I made a stupid play and it cost us a goal,” said Ehrhoff.
Evgeni Nabokov successfully stopped a penalty shot from Todd Bertuzzi. This was the third penalty shot Nabokov has faced and successfully stopped at home this season.
Marcel Goc scored his first goal of the season (1-2=3).
The Sharks will return to action Wednesday in Los Angeles in a 7:30 contest available on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.