San Jose played about as well as they could for 40 minutes against Colorado Wednesday night, but it was the 20 that they weren’t up to snuff that made the difference in the 3-1 loss.
“We had guys in the fist period that didn’t show up . . . and it affected the whole team,” said Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson. “They scored first and in this league that is huge.”
When San Jose did turn it on, they had Colorado goalie Jose Theodore’s head on a swivel.
“We had a lot of good scoring chances and he made some really nice saves,” said Jonathan Cheechoo. “With him, you want to try and get shots on the net. The rebounds were there and we have to get those up.”
“Obviously we carried the play the last two-thirds,” said Wilson.
Evgeni Nabokov was pulled for an extra attacker in the final minutes and the Sharks had several chances that easily could have tied things.
“I’d rather be defending that than coming from behind,” said Marleau. “We threw everything at the net.”
The Sharks know they can’t let points slip away like they did Wednesday night.
“These are big points and we’re four points out of the lead,” said Cheechoo. “We’ve got a few games in hand, but we can’t treat it like that.”
NICE PASSPatrick Marleau
scored the Sharks lone tally on the evening. He began the play by racing to a loose puck, and when the rubber disk moved back to the point, Marleau circled behind the net. Theodore may not have noticed him, but Sandis Ozolinsh did and made like he was firing on net, but instead altered his angle to find Marleau to the side.
“It was a great pass,” said Marleau. “He found a lane there.”
Marleau said it was not as close as it looked.
“The D-man almost got a stick on it,” said Marleau.
The Sharks Captain had several strong opportunities on the night.
“We felt good out there,” said Marleau. “We had quite a few chances. It would have been nicer to see a few go in.”
Marleau has clicked with rookie winger Tomas Plihal who is vastly improved from his debut last season.
“I think maybe it’s his timing and confidence,” said Marleau. “I think he is really solid defensively and that’s the first part of becoming an NHLer.”
Wilson was complimentary of the duo, but not quite as content with their linemate’s play.
“Bernier was awful tonight,” said Wilson. “Patty and Plihal skated and used their speed. We need more from Bernier. (He has to) pay the price.”
At one point, Joe Pavelski
found himself lying flat on the ice with the puck directly in front of him. So he wound up and fired on Theodore, in what would have been one of the all-time top goals in Sharks history had it gone in.
“It was a great second effort,” said Cheechoo. “Those usually end up in the net when you’re battling in there.”
“The puck just came out and I took a crack at it,” said Pavelski. “The goalie was not quite back yet. That’s how the game goes on nights like that.”
Thornton was clipped in the face during the game, but there was no call.
“He got highsticked in the face and the ref said it was accidental,” said Wilson. “In our league you’re supposed to be in control of your stick.”
Both of Colorado’s goals came when a point shot was tipped by a passing forward in the slot.
“You can always do something,” said Pavelski. “They made their plays.”
OFF TO THE RACES
The dangerous duo of Torrey Mitchell
and Mike Grier once again used their speed for a shorthanded opportunity.
“You can kind of anticipate if Mike is going to go with it,” said Mitchell. “He can catch guys off guard when they’re on the power play. There is a lot more space out there than you think.”
Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson confirmed a report that had the Sharks among the teams interested in pursuing center Peter Forsberg if the Swedish forward does indeed make a return to the NHL this season.
According to the report, Forsberg has narrowed his options down to several interested teams, those of which no longer include the Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars, Calgary Flames, Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators and the Sharks.
“We did have several conversations with Peter’s agent, Don Baizley, regarding Peter’s status and our interest in him coming to San Jose,” said Wilson. “I’ve always said that we will look at every possible avenue that can help improve our hockey team. It appears at this point that Peter and his agent are moving in a different direction and so are we.”
D KEEPS SCORING
With the assist from Ozolinsh tonight, the Sharks defensive unit now has 35 points (8-27=35) in the last 15 games.
Devin Setoguchi was the third star in Worcester’s 6-1 victory Wednesday night.
COLORADO HEAD COACH JOEL QUENNEVILLE
“Tonight was a huge win in a tough building, and you know in the second period there, the quality number of chances was definitely high for them and getting through that was very important “
“We’re trying to get points right now everyday. We’re looking at the standings and you’re trying to fight and stay in the race or try to move up in our division, so these (two points) were an important.”
San Jose will host Columbus Friday night at HP Pavilion at 7:30 p.m. and the game will be carried on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com. Limited tickets are available at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com.