If I was a writer who liked to use clichés, I would say that the San Jose Sharks tonight had more turnovers than your local bakery. However, I am not. So I will merely say that the Sharks turned the puck over to the Florida Panthers 32 times tonight, either through their own giveaways (of which there were 17) or the Panthers’ takeaways (15). The Sharks, on the other hand, were the beneficiaries of only 13 giveaways and 3 takeaways.
Tonight saw a very unusual game played by the Sharks, but it was also a familiar one. For the first time this season, the Sharks lost a game in which they scored first. It was also the first time they lost a game in which they had a lead after the first period. It marked the first time Brent Burns took a penalty as a Shark. It was the first time the Sharks have lost a game in which Jamie McGinn scored. It was also a rare game where their worst period was the second period, as they were outscored 3-0 during that frame.
But, as has become familiar among Sharks fans, there was a lack of urgency on the ice. Passes were not being completed, and some that were attempted were ill-advised (such as Joe Thornton gaining the zone, stopping a foot from the blue line, and attempting to pass to Pavelski up the middle – only dumb luck prevent that from being an odd man rush the other way). The penalty kill was less than stellar, allowing two of the five goals and going 1-for-3.
Dan Boyle had another forgetful game, taking the first penalty that led to a Florida goal. Boyle is now second on the Sharks in penalty minutes behind Ryane Clowe with 34 PIMs, and if you exclude fighting majors, Boyle leads the team. A lazy turnover by Boyle also led to Florida’s fourth goal, a shorthanded one by Jack Skille that bounced off of Boyle’s stick and Demers’s skate past Thomas Greiss.
Outside of the final goal, all the goals the Panthers scored came off of bad mistakes by the defensemen. Douglas Murray interfered with Greiss’s glove, Colin White had a horrible giveaway deep in his own zone to Marco Sturm, Brent Burns turns it over on the blue line, and the aforementioned Boyle gaffe. All six defensemen were on the ice for at least one goal against tonight, and all six also played a hand in that goal against. It was an all-around horrible effort by them.
Thomas Greiss began the game decently, but his game decayed as the play went on. He attempted a poke check on Marco Sturm that missed and led to the second tying goal. And to erase any benefit of the doubt, he allowed an unscreened shot from the point by Kulikov to squeeze through his arm for the final score of the game.
There was a scary moment early in the second. Martin Havlat was checked to the ice. While attempting to get up, Sean Bergenheim was about to collide with Havlat and jumped to avoid running into him. However, Bergenheim's knee collided with the back of Havlat's head, driving it into the ice. Havlat was down for a few seconds, but went back to the bench and appeared to be just fine, even contributing to a great scoring chance his next shift.
There were a few bright spots. The reunited second line of Clowe-Couture-Havlat continues to produce, with Couture potting two of the three goals scored by the Sharks tonight, as well as generating plenty of other great chances throughout the game. Joe Pavelski somehow failed to score on what seemed like a dozen great chances. Jamie McGinn proved again why he’s such a cult favorite. The forwards, as a whole, did not play all that badly.
The Sharks have not won against the Florida Panthers since October 31, 2006 (h/t to idunno723). They did not even come close to breaking that streak tonight.