The Sharks pounded Boston's Tuukka Rask with 39 shots, but their offensive struggles continued as San Jose suffered their first regulation loss of the season in Boston.
It felt all too familiar to San Jose Sharks fans.
After a 7-0-0 start to 2012-13, the Sharks’ offense went stone cold. Sixteen goals over the course of the next 12 games left everyone scrambling for answers.
After a scorching 7-0-1 start to 2013-14, the Sharks abruptly rejoined reality with a hard-earned, 1-0 shootout victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The high-flying Sharks had been averaging nearly five goals per game leading up to the game in Detroit.
But it didn’t stop there.
Despite outshooting the Bruins 39-17, the Sharks only managed to find the back of the net once. And to make matters worse, the Sharks failed to weather a late offensive surge by Boston, surrendering the game-winning goal with just 0.8 seconds remaining and handing the Sharks their first regulation loss of the season.
Two days later in Montreal offered a similar storyline. A nice tic-tac-toe power-play goal put the Sharks on the board, but if not for a fluky ricochet off the end boards to make it 2-0, it could have come down to the wire yet again.
The Sharks seem to have righted their three-game skid Sunday evening in Ottawa with a 5-2 victory, but this won’t be the last time the Sharks experience a lack of offense this season.
Solution: Don’t panic just yet—stay the course and believe in what got you to this point.
Even in their brief skid, the Sharks came away with four points out of a possible six, thanks in large part to goaltender Antti Niemi.
Niemi’s recent performances should give the Sharks confidence about their ability to compete in tight games when the offense isn’t clicking.
Despite facing just 17 shots, Niemi made an inordinate amount of phenomenal saves in Boston, keeping the Sharks in the game while the offense struggled to score.
Two days prior, he made an unbelievable pad save to preserve the shootout victory that left the Red Wings’ Todd Bertuzzi in utter disbelief.
That said, the Sharks are too potent offensively and will always be surrounded by questions when the offense isn’t producing “like it should.” Head coach Todd McLellan does a good job maintaining perspective for his group, never getting too high or too low.
Ultimately, the balanced offensive contributions the Sharks have received early will go a long way to relieve some of the pressure on players like Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture.