The Sharks can lament the fact that they scored three goals against Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick on Thursday night but still lost Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
But did we mention they scored three goals against Jonathan Quick?
The aftermath of San Jose’s painful 4-3 loss after allowing two goals during a 22-second span late in the game can go down different paths. Losing a game after committing back-to-back penalties down the stretch and outplaying your opponent most of the night can be tough. The Sharks were a stunned team as they headed back to their locker room after the game at Staples Center, and for good reason.
But when the smoke clears from the Kings frantic winning sequence Thursday, the bottom line is San Jose exhibited a slew of encouraging signs. The Sharks need to use that as motivation as the series shifts back to HP Pavilion for Game 3 on Saturday.
“I liked our game,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “It was a hell of an effort tonight from our group. We have to get back to San Jose. We have to wake up in the morning and feel good about what we did for 59 minutes. There is a lot of good to take out of that game.”
Like they did in Game 1, the Sharks put a lot of pressure on Quick. But unlike the series-opener, San Jose finally capitalized on the scoreboard. When Patrick Marleau scored midway through the second period for the Sharks’ first goal of the series, Quick no longer seemed invincible. And San Jose confirmed that hypothesis by putting up three goals in less than 20 minutes. The Sharks got more traffic in front of the net, the ice opened up and the Kings defense no longer seemed impenetrable.
San Jose was the better team Thursday night at even strength. Three of the Kings’ goals came on the power play, including one with a two-man advantage. If the Sharks can do a better job of staying out of the penalty box, with the way goalie Antti Niemi is playing 5-on-5, San Jose has to feel good about itself if it can similarly break through against Quick again during the remainder of the series.
“We know we can break through on him,” Sharks forward Joe Pavelski said. “We know we’re going to get our chances, and we did. We’ll take a lot of good things out of it. We played them hard. We felt like we carried the pace for the most part. You move on. It will be nice to go home.”
Seeing as the Sharks are human beings, Thursday’s loss still will not be easy to get over, regardless of the encouraging signs they displayed for most of the night. But the team seemed confident they will be past it by the time they take the ice Saturday in front of what promises to be a delirious crowd at the Shark Tank.
“We’re a confident group,” center Logan Couture said. “We’ve played a lot of playoff games in here. We’ve had some deep runs. We’ll get over this and get ready for Game 3. Our building is going to be loud. We’ll be ready.”