There was little doubt following San Jose’s game with Vancouver that the deciding goal should not have been allowed. The puck was deflected with a Vancouver high stick and the Sharks did not control it, but the play was not able to be judged from the replay booth.
“A real obvious high stick, but it’s unreviewable is what I’m being told,” Head Coach Todd McLellan said. “The initial play, the stick was well over the bar. The referee waived that off and he scored on the rebound. So it’s unreviewable.”
San Jose’s netminder was more concerned with the puck than the high stick.
“I didn’t think about that when it happened, if it was a high stick or not,” Antti Niemi
said. “I slid over a little and it hit my right pad and he hit the empty net on the rebound.”
Even with the controversial goal, the players weren’t putting the blame anywhere but their own shoulders and Ryane Clowe
was the most direct of the Sharks players.
“They played back-to-back games and had 50 shots,” Clowe directly stated. “That’s enough said there. We just want to cheat at times. They’re not afraid to play a sound defensive game and they’ll stick to it and we’ve got guys that want to do it occasionally. Not all the time though because that’s hard work. When you do it all the time and you win you feel it after the game. I guarantee you right now there are guys who don’t feel that tired after that game. Just terrible. The first place team in back-to-back games, tied going into the third. It was my fault on the last goal, he got underneath me, high stick or not. Things like that in the defensive zone are unacceptable. I guess we can say we are going to fix it, but when are we going to fix it.”
Clowe indicated the problems were primarily micro and individual focused.
“I think it’s an individual thing right now, mentally,” Clowe said. “Do you want to score four goals or do you want to win a game? Do you want to win or are you happy losing with five goals? Losing 6-5 maybe or would you rather win 1-0 (like in LA)? Are guys happy then, I don’t know? Maybe they want to score goals and get points. I don’t know. We’ve got to figure it out. It’s probably got to come from leadership. It’s frustrating. (I’m) pissed off, that’s for sure.”
McLellan noted the hard feelings should not be surprise.
“They just lost a game,” McLellan said. “They are high end athletes. They are competitive and they just lost a game and should be upset. I wouldn’t expect them to be any other way.”
The Sharks got a significant offensive contribution from the fourth line that gave San Jose a second period lead and it was courtesy of Jamal Mayers.
“We have to chip in here and there,” Mayers said. “If we’re aggressive on the forecheck, we can create opportunities. Most importantly (we have to) wear other teams’ D down.”
With two assists tonight, Dany Heatley now has five points (1-4=5) in his last four games. San Jose recorded three assists from their defense tonight, Jason Demers
, Kent Huskins and Dan Boyle
San Jose rookie Andrew Desjardins
became the second player in NHL history to wear jersey #69. (Mel Angelstad, 2003-2004 Washington Capitals)
Despite losing this contest against the Canucks was far more competitive than the last outing.
“It was a better game on our behalf than what we had in Vancouver,” said McLellan. “The intensity was better, we won a lot more battles than we did there. So the gap has closed a little bit, but we know now that there’s some work to do still. We want to compete with the best and to get to that level we still have some work to do.”
CANUCKS HEAD COACH ALAN VIGNEAULT
“In all areas of the game I thought we played our best game of the three on this road trip. And we played against a real strong opponent in all areas. It was a tough grind out there for both teams.”
“It was a real good hockey game. We were able to pull it off in the third. I thought our guys came out real hard and played well and we were able to get it done.”
“Our guys had a lot of energy. We were rolling four lines. We were managing the puck well against that team. We got a little bit off it in the second, and that’s how they built a little bit of momentum when we didn’t make the right plays through the neutral zone.”
San Jose will host Buffalo Thursday at HP Pavilion at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office are at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be available on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.