San Jose Sharks: 7-2 Loss Reminds Fans of April Showers

Andy Bensch@@AndyBenschSenior Writer INovember 26, 2009

SAN JOSE, CA - NOVEMBER 25:  Patrick Sharp #10 of the Chicago Blackhawks scores a shorthanded goal against Evgeni Nabokov #20 of the San Jose Sharks during their game at HP Pavilion on November 25, 2009 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

When a club scores three short-handed goals in a single game, the opposing team isn't  going to win.

But when the three "shorties" build a 3-0 lead and the second two come on the same power-play, the morale of the opposing team can sink no lower.

However, in any sport, overcoming adversity is a must if a team has dreams of winning a league championship.

In Wednesday night's 7-2 loss, the San Jose Sharks stopped playing for a period of nearly 30 minutes.

For exactly 29:35, from the 5:25 mark of the second period to the 15:00 minute mark of the third period the Sharks gave up, packed it in, and just started going through the motions.

Despite being out-shot by at least a 2:1 ratio by the time Chicago winger Patrick Sharp made the score 3-0 at little over five minutes into the second period, the Sharks weren't playing as bad as it seemed.

Neither of the three short-handed goals were due to overall poor performance by the entire power play unit.

As Dan Boyle said in the post-game interviews, the first goal of the game is a shot Nabokov stops "99 times out of 100."

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When Joe Thornton accidentally slowed down a Chicago clearing attempt and therefore allowed the puck to slide perfectly towards a full-speed Troy Brouwer, the Sharks looked to be in trouble.

However, johnny on the spot Dan Boyle forced Brouwer to shoot from an angle and from well-outside the face-off circle. Unfortunately, Nabokov just fanned on the glove save and the puck beat him into the top corner of the net.

The second short-handed goal was solely the fault of Kent Huskins, who has no business being on the power play in the first-place.

With complete control of the puck, Huskins somehow didn't realize how close the penalty-killer was, and instead of getting rid of the puck quickly via wrist shot or pass, he inexplicably wound up for a slap shot.

Marian Hossa then essentially took candy from a baby by deflecting the puck away, and teammate Jonathan Toews picked up the loose puck and fed Hossa for a breakaway pass.

The superstar did no wrong by burying the puck past Nabokov for a 2-0 lead.

Unfortunately the Sharks would give up another short-handed tally just 28 seconds later.

Similarly to the first goal, the Sharks had a step on the onrushing Chicago forward, but this time rookie Jason Demers completely falls for no apparent reason. According to Demers he "hit a rut in the ice," but regardless of the surface, a play like that cannot happen.

Not only did Demers look like a Jonathan Cheechoo trying to play defense but all game long he failed to keep pucks inside the offensive zone on the power play.

The love affair from coaches to broadcasters to fans with this rookie defenseman needs to end. San Jose will not succeed in the playoffs without picking up some defensive help at the trade deadline.

By falling to the ice, Demers allowed Blackhawk forward Patrick Sharp to walk in all alone on Nabokov and increase the score to 3-0.

Despite their being still nearly 35 minutes remaining in the game, the Sharks gave up. Even after their head coach called a timeout after the third goal, San Jose didn't respond.

They weren't necessarily playing horribly yet, as the three goals allowed were fluke mistakes by individual players. However after the third goal, they began to play some of the worst hockey ever seen at the HP Pavilion.

The Sharks would go onto allow a fourth goal in the second period on a play where defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic looked dazed and confused, failing to tie up the only Chicago player near the front of the net. That player, Dustin Byfuglien, had all day to tap in a rebound that was lying in the crease.

For the second period, the Sharks were out-shot 21-6 and simply appeared to give up, showing a mentality that their fan base cannot stand to witness.

San Jose's fan base was finally starting to put last season's playoff demise behind them, but Wednesday's game against Chicago reminded them why their team fails to perform during April and May.

Whenever anything gets tough, or things don't go their way, the Sharks seem to fold and pack it in.

Last playoffs against the Ducks, games four and six were games San Jose absolutely had to have after going down two games to none and then facing elimination in game six.

But when momentum was on the other side, the Sharks couldn't manage to get anything going.

On Wednesday against Chicago, it was only until after the game was completely out of reach at 7-0 before the Sharks woke up and started playing.

Energy man and third line center Scott Nichol's line got some power play time and even drew another penalty, which led to the Sharks ruining Chicago net-minder Cristobal Huet's attempt at a shutout.

In the last four minutes, the Sharks scored twice on goals by Dan Boyle and Joe Paveski.

By going 100 percent at all times, players like Nichol, Boyle, and Ryane Clowe managed to get the game back in their momentum and created a couple of goals because of it.

The fact that the Sharks didn't start playing again till the last five minutes is embarrassing as a fan and confusing as a student of the game.

It appears head coach Todd McLellan needs to take a page out of Coach Orion's book. The third movie of Disney's The Mighty Ducks series has a change in coaches, and after a game their new coach rips the team by yelling "how long does it take to score a goal!!!!???!!!!" He then proceeds to chuck a puck across the locker room making a dent into a cork board hanging on the wall. After doing so, he answers his own question, responding with "less than a second!!!!"

Simply said, you are never out of a game no matter what the score. Multiple goals can come in succession even before certain slow fans have reached their seats after refilling on beer.

When there is still over half the game to play, even if the score is 7-0 at that point, the game isn't over.

If this is how the Sharks show up for games against the top teams in the league, the same story will be written come April.

The Sharks will be extinct from the playoff waters and be hitting the golf courses in mid-to-late April like they do every year.


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