Tonight we'll be doing a bit of a different style of recap, mostly because both Jake and I thought we were writing it, so we decided to team up like the Wonder Twins and bring you a super recap. Form of, Sharks game write-up!
Ann: So. That game.
Jake: That was a lot worse than most of the stinkers the Sharks have put on this year. There was no bad luck involved, really, the Sharks got outplayed by a crappy Winnipeg team, all there is to it.
Ann: I'd have to slightly disagree with you on the luck aspect - the image of Joe Thornton standing at the foot of a wide-open net comes immediately to mind - but yes, there was no way the Sharks deserved to win this game.
Jake: Fair enough, but this also isn't outshooting the Buffalo Sabres by 20 and losing in a shootout. The Sharks got outplayed by the Jets! The Jets! This game isn't all that important, but it's a bummer that they're going to (probably) lose out on a division title because they can't beat Calgary and Winnipeg.
Ann: They didn't lose that game! The NHL simply failed to recognize the Sharks' rightful overtime win. /was at that game /still not over it
But yes, though the Sharks have clinched a playoff spot, it's crucial to keep winning so they can avoid the first round of death against the Kings.
The Kings and Dustin Brown's knee, at that.
Jake: Exactly. That playoff format is still mind-boggling to me (why would you have a first round matchup between division opponents?) but it would be preferable if the Sharks can put off facing the Kings as long as possible.
Although Hertl coming back and singlehandedly destroying the Kings would be the best possible outcome, I suppose.
Ann: Gotta make that Tampa Bay-Montreal NBC Rivalry Night game an actual rivalry!
We have to talk about the special teams. With the referees calling penalties like they're on commission, they played a huge factor in the outcome of the game.
Jake: Oddly enough it was the penalty kill that let the Sharks down tonight. Who would have guessed that in 2014 I am more confident in the penalty kill on a nightly basis than the power play?
Ann: Certainly not me. Though I'm fine with the power play failing more than Spongebob on his driving test if the penalty kill is both stopping the other team and scoring oodles of goals. And initially it seemed like the penalty kill was going great as usual. There was that one shift started by an aggressive play by Montoya that generated around three shorthanded chances by the Sharks. But then the rest of the game happened.
Jake: You have a point there. It's not so much that the penalty kill was bad as it was that the Sharks gave the Jets too many chances on it. As ticky-tack as many of the calls were, the penalties on Stuart and Couture that effectively decided this game were very clear cut in my opinion.
Ann: It became obvious the referees were going to call everything as soon as they bought Havlat's horrible holding sell job. They should have adjusted their play to that standard.
Jake: We also should talk about Antti Niemi, because I can see people on Twitter sharpening their pitchforks already. Niemi didn't have a great game, but he's also not the reason the Sharks got zero points against the Jets.
Ann: I agree. That weak, weak goal by Wheeler that saw him somehow get a shot off while tied up by Vlasic was painful to watch, but it's also not the only reason the Sharks lost.
Jake: Right, that was a bad goal, but he also made some great saves late in the game that kept the Sharks in it.
Ann: Allowing Dustin Byfuglien to stand alone on the weak side, letting Ladd get to his own rebound, allowing the Jets in general to get those crucial second chances... That makes it a hell of a lot harder for any goalie to make a save.
Jake: Yep, the Sharks didn't put themselves in a position to win this game. They started slowly (although they scored first, so go figure) and didn't finish the game well, either. I don't know if it's fatigue or what, but there have definitely been some lulls in their play as the game goes on.
Ann: You have to wonder if it's the post-road trip, post-clinch let-down. Some Sharks might be subconsciously conserving energy or trying to not get hurt e.g. Burish or Couture.
Jake: And I know the coaching staff and Drew Remenda won't like that, but I'd rather see the Kings in the first round with a healthy team than the Stars or Wild with even more key players out of the lineup.
Ann: Definitely. With the inevitable injuries in the playoffs, you want the Sharks to start them as healthy as possible.
Jake: So the Sharks head to Colorado for a game against the percentage-driven Avalanche on Saturday. It's the kind of game you hope for a bounce back win in, but it's also a game I wouldn't be surprised to see the Sharks lose because Varlamov stands on his head.
Ann: A Colorado goaltender standing on his head is giving me bad flashbacks to 2010. Here's to hoping that Colorado's percentages regress and regress hard.
Jake: Not much would make me happier than seeing Champion Human Being Semyon Varlamov fall back to Earth.
Ann: And Patrick Roy freaking out on the bench, not understanding why. [insert video of Patrick Roy freaking out here]
Jake: That's a staple of a good hockey game.