Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan went straight to the point Thursday night when he was asked about his team’s “compete” level in the 3-0 loss to Buffalo.
“It depends on which team you’re asking me about,” McLellan began. “The team that showed up for the first period or the one that showed up after that. You give that goaltender a 3-0 lead, it doesn’t matter, so let’s talk about the first period.”
The Sharks had talked talk prior to Thursday’s contest about how important opening strong was.
“We can go back a couple days and I sat in that lockerroom and I listened to a group of players and the coaches talk about how important starts were and how they were going to come prepared and we get that,” McLellan stated. “That’s pretty disappointing.”
Each goal was a result of something that needed to happen not happening.
“We work on net play yesterday and we give up the first one because we’re soft,” McLellan began. “On the second one we cheat and on the third one, we must have spent 10 or 15 minutes in practice working on that exact play, and it comes back to bite us. That sums up our game. The team that played the first period, unacceptable. After that not a bad effort, but way too late. As simple as that.”
The shutout was the Sharks sixth against on the season and McLellan pointed out it came directly from their own play.
“When you’re sloppy defensively and you’re not committed defensively, you usually don’t execute offensively,” McLellan said. “We had a lot of looks at the net and some good chances. We bobbled pucks. We didn’t finish plays. We had a couple looks at open nets where he made some very good saves. But if you’re not committed at one end, very seldom do you get rewarded at the other and that was the case tonight.”
The players are not happy to see the shutout total rising.
“I think it should get to everybody,” Joe Thornton
said. “You don’t want to get shutout any night. We definitely have to work hard for our goals, especially against a guy like (Ryan Miller) over there. If we continue to throw 35-36 shots a game, we get plenty of goals.
“Once again a lapse in our five-on-five play and defensive commitment cost us the game,” Ryane Clowe
said. “We had a lot of energy and we were getting some good chances. Give Miller credit, he played well, but we didn’t make his life miserable by getting in front of him.”
Clowe took care of business in his evening fight, easily taking the decision. The bout was partially to help jump start his team and partially to protect his team.
“We try to start fast and got in some penalty trouble,” Clowe said about trying to start some momentum. “That guy stepped up a couple of times on Couture and I didn’t like it. We played against him all night and I wanted to let him know early that wasn’t going to happen. A little bit to try and get some momentum and a little to let him know, especially on Couture, no one is going to take liberties with him.”
McLellan would move forward starting Friday in order to change the direction from the last two contests.
“We’ll have practice tomorrow and we’ll hold players accountable,” McLellan said. “We’ve got to get ready to play against a team that works just as hard as this one does.”
Dany Heatley set a franchise record with 11 shots on goal. The previous record for shots in a game was 10, most recently achieved by Devin Setoguchi on Nov. 11, 2008 vs. Nashville.
Ryan Miller’s shutout (20th of his career) is the first shutout for Buffalo against San Jose in the all-time series (28 games).
BUFFALO HEAD COACH LINDY RUFF
“The key was not to give them those odd number rush situations. We had plenty that we didn’t take advantage of. But at the same time we didn’t give up a lot and we tried to play a pretty aggressive game.”
“I think that might be our best all around effort of the year. From a competing stand point, I rather win 3-0 than win a game 6-2.”
San Jose will host Nashville in a 5 p.m. start Saturday at HP Pavilion and tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.