San Jose suffered another disappointing shootout loss Thursday night at HP Pavilion in their 3-2 loss to Edmonton, but Team Teal did show their resiliency. The Sharks were down 2-0 after 20 minutes and clearly weren’t playing their best hockey. Then they righted the ship.
“It looked for a while like we weren’t going to get anything,” said Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson.
San Jose scored once in the second and once in the third to gain a valuable point in the playoff race.
Still, Wilson feels the two points were there for the taking.
“When we tied it, we sat back and let them breath,” said Wilson. “We should have smelled blood and finished them off. We had plenty of opportunities in the third, we just missed them.”
In the overtime period, San Jose had a full two-minute power play with the four-on-three advantage, but could not find the back of the net.
“I’m a little disappointed,” said Wilson, who had four forwards on the ice to try and gain the extra point. “Maybe we’ll change the personnel to mix it up.”
Edmonton had their chances to win the game in regulation as well, but Vesa Toskala would have none of it, putting together a season’s worth of highlights in one game. Three of his grabs could have been saves of the year, as on two he was on the ice and the puck just missed crossing the line.
“On a couple I was lucky,” said Toskala. “The one in the second period, I was on my back.”
The third miraculous save came in the shootout when he somehow reached out with his glove to keep the puck out while most of his body slid back across the line.
“On that one, I was out of control, so I wouldn’t say it was a good save,” said Toskala, although a packed HP Pavilion crowd cheered differently.
Plus, one of those two saves came on a five-on-three advantage for the Oilers and it was fortunate because Toskala was guilty of the second infraction.
“We sucked it up and got the job done,” said Wilson. “Doug Murray and Joe Thornton
did a great job with their long reaches.”
And the two goals Edmonton did score?
“You can’t blame either of the two goals on him,” said Wilson. “Neither were his fault. We didn’t get the first kill and that gave them life.”
San Jose outplayed Edmonton for two periods, but the first 20 minutes was the primary difference.
“The little details hurt us,” said Kyle McLaren. “At the end of the first, we started getting back to our game. We didn’t pay attention to details for 60 minutes and it cost us a point.”
SHOOTOUT UNKIND AGAIN
San Jose fell to 1-5 in shootouts this season.
“It’s not nice when you lose, but I guess it’s good for the fans,” said Toskala.
The feeling of losing hurts, but there is the silver lining.
“One point is better than nothing,” said Toskala. “I have to get better in the shootout.”
With an assist on the first Sharks goal of the evening, Jonathan Cheechoo extended his career-high point streak to 10 games (9-8=17). He still leads the team in goals with 25. Joe Thornton
extended his point streak to four games (1-4=5) with his power-play tally in the second period. He is now third in the NHL scoring race (16-48=64).
While not streaks, two other Sharks are red hot. Patrick Marleau
has registered 33 points in his last 28 games (11-22=33). Tom Preissing has registered at least one point in 13 of his last 20 contests. (3-11=14)
As a team, the Sharks have gained at least one point in 10 of the last 12 games on home ice (9 -1-2). That is 20 of a possible 24 points garnered on HP Pavilion ice.
San Jose will travel to Los Angeles Friday after practice for a 3 p.m. Saturday showdown with the Pacific Division rival Kings. The game will be televised by NBC and can be heard on 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.