Against a team that you can't give excuses for losing to, the Sharks put in a very lazy game against the Desert Dogs on Tuesday coming up on the losing end, 5-3.
Trust me, the score makes the game look a lot closer than it was.
I'll admit, I did not get to see the first period as the game started at 6:30pm here in California and I was still at work, but less than a minute into the 2nd period started, they allowed a power play goal. All night long, the Sharks tried cute passes behind the back and bouncing it off of the boards, usually straight to someone in a Coyotes sweater, and the 'Yotes made them pay for it all night long.
The Sharks just looked like they didn't care at all. They cashed in on a few opportunities in front of the net, but overall it was a very poor effort. They lost in almost all categories; faceoffs, hits, shots, and the one that matters the most but is not measured, effort. Really, the only player in a Sharks sweater that showed up for the game was (of course) Joe Thornton who tallied a goal, an assist and was +1.
Watching this game I realized how easy it is to see when the Sharks are going to have a good game, and when they are going to have a poor game. When the Sharks play good, they are physical and the puck is in the corners most of the time. When the Sharks play a good game, they have very good puck-side support. It almost seems like they travel in packs of 2 all over the ice, and they just dominate the game and wear the opponent down into submission.
However, when the Sharks play poor, it's easy to see. People try to play the game individually, rather than as a team. They either travel alone with no support, or are so bunched together they have nobody to pass to. They try to play the game on the rush and throw the puck blindly into the slot. On the Power Play, nobody moves away from the puck and they have difficulty entering the zone. They fail to dump the puck in, and on defense they don't stand anybody up at the blueline.
Sound familiar? It should. Thats pretty much the entire game in a nutshell last night.
Hopefully the Sharks actually show up for the game against Dallas tomorrow night. It's an important divisional game coming back to the Tank, followed up by an appearance in the Tank by the leagues #1 team, Detroit.
This coming homestand is probably one of the most critical points in the season thusfar for the Sharks. Lets hope they don't blow go on autopilot again. Those games infuriate me, and I know i'm not the only one.