From the moment the puck dropped against the Los Angeles Kings, the Sharks couldn’t find the power that sparked a four-game winning streak prior to the Christmas break. The 4-0 loss could have been much worse if not for Antti Niemi
’s heroics through two periods.
Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan did not mince words following the game.
“That was out worked, out hustled, out muscled, out committed,” McLellan stated. “It was pretty evident in the first period, one team came to play and the other came to see what was going to happen. We were chasing our tales the whole night. Full marks to them. I’m very disappointed we had that type of effort. There was no doubt tonight who the better team was, it wasn’t even close. We got what we deserved.”
No one in the Sharks lockerroom was pretending the game was anything but what the scoreboard said.
“I’m just embarrassed with our effort, it was a terrible effort,” Dan Boyle
said. “There is a lot to pick at. It was just effort. A lot of us took the night off tonight and as important of a game as that is, that’s not right.”
“It wasn’t a very good start,” Ryane Clowe
said. “They came out hard and played hard. I was disappointed in our start. I thought we would be better. We weren’t very good in our own end. It came down to work ethic. It’s not a matter of days off. You can be a little rusty with passing, but work ethic has nothing to do with days off and we got out battled. They plain and simple won the battles. We laid a pretty good egg tonight.”
For as bad as the first two periods were as San Jose was outshot 30-14, they were still even on the scoreboard as Antti Niemi
was standing on his head. The effort would be wasted though.
“After the second we talked about how Nemo kept us in and we basically needed to play 20 minutes,” Boyle said. “We talked about playing 20 and we didn’t even do that. It’s less than halfway through the season, but we don’t know which ones are going to count down the road. It’s a team that’s right there, a team in our division. It’s just not right.”
“Without him it could have been 4-0 in the first,” McLellan said. “I thought he did a real good job through 40 minutes. In the last period he kind of played like the rest of us. He certainly got us to that point. At the end of the night, if you were going to award any of our players a star, it would probably go to him, but he didn’t have it in the third.”
There was only so much Niemi could hold on as the Kings attack was relentless.
“Eventually they kept going in with breakaways and in the third there wasn’t much Nemo could do with back door taps and rebounds,” Clowe said. “He held us in there as long as he could. We had a chance in the third to come out and win a period and win a game. Mentally we weren’t there tonight.”
San Jose will have a rematch with the Kings in Southern California on New Year’s Day.
“I think mentally we will be extra ready, it will be a huge game,” Niemi said.
“There is not a lot we’ll take from this game and say let’s duplicate it,” McLellan said. “There has to be a complete turnaround.”
Former Shark Marco Sturm scored his first goal as a Los Angeles King against San Jose at 3:19 in the third period. It was the team’s second goal of the game.
The Sharks suffered their fifth shutout of the season tonight. The Sharks were last shutout, 3-0, on Nov. 20 against the Columbus Blue Jackets in San Jose.
KINGS HEAD COACH TERRY MURRAY:
“It was that stay-with-it attitude all the way through the sixty minutes. I loved the start. I think we had great offensive zone time and lots of puck to the net.”
“We had a shot mentality and recovered lots of pucks. In the second period we fell off a little bit … but we got it back and then the third period, as you say, but if you just keep going with it, you are hoping something breaks or gives and then it does. And you go from there.”
The Sharks will visit Minnesota on Wednesday at 5 p.m. and the game will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.