It's easy to pick apart a bad loss, a good win, or even a lucky win. But it's hard to know exactly how to handle a game where the Sharks play well, but lose by a wide margin. That's what happened last night in a 5-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Sure, there was a little overaggressiveness or a defensive breakdown or two in the game, but that's bound to happen in any game. Pittsburgh just happened to cash in their chances and get a few bounces. "You probably won't see that many in a month - three (goals scored) from below the goal line," head coach Peter DeBoer said. "It was one of those nights."
The first two Pittsburgh goals were thrown in off the back of Martin Jones' pads. The first one was even deflected off of Paul Martin's skate before that happened. Those kind of goals happen once in a blue moon. The third - Evgeni Malkin's wraparound - Jones would probably want back, but it wasn't necessarily egregious. "I overplayed the shot a little bit," Jones said. "He's a good player and he made a nice play to wrap it around there." Nothing taken away from the Penguins here. "Pittsburgh was hungry tonight, and you have to give them some credit for getting the job done," DeBoer said. They earned the win, and obviously played well enough to win a game. They just had some good luck too.
On the Sharks side, the process seemed fine, the results just weren't there. "I think that's a frustrating loss - when you play pretty well and the score doesn't really depict that," Paul Martin said. Score effects came into play a bit, but the Sharks solidly controlled the puck possession game all night. Every Shark except Mirco Mueller finished with an even strength Corsi over 50%.
Even the fourth line had a good game. Mike Brown had a few chances early, while Chris Tierney and Dainius Zubrus had the best Corsi% at even strength in the game. "You earn your puck luck," Tommy Wingels said. "At times you're going to get good bounces and sometimes you're not."
The biggest 'bounce' of the night might not have been for Pittsburgh, but a strange moment against the Sharks. Right after Patrick Marleau got the Sharks on the board, the third line appeared to have scored. But the referee immediately signaled no goal. "That's a critical turning point right there," DeBoer said. "I'm still a little unsure on how the decision was made, based on my views of it."
Hertl goal immediately waved off pic.twitter.com/sTRhHzp7AU— Stephanie (@myregularface) December 2, 2015
Initially, it appeared Tomas Hertl's goal was taken away because of a hand pass. Tommy Wingels clearly bats the puck down with his glove almost directly to Hertl. Still, it was worth a challenge. "Whether it was a hand pass or not, we were hoping it would be allowed," Martin said. The review actually came back saying that Tommy Wingels had interfered with Marc-Andre Fleury, so the goal was waved off. Now, that seemed like much less of an issue that the hand pass situation. If this had been a Penguins goal, I think Sharks fans would rightfully complain more about the glove work than the minuscule amount of apparent interference. "I haven't seen a replay or anything," Wingels said. "I didn't think there was contact."
Regardless of the calls, the Sharks have some work to do. But judging by that game, they seem more like tweaks as opposed to anything systematically or glaringly wrong. (Speaking of, the Sharks even had another power play goal at home in this game. There isn't even an easy scapegoat there!)
"Whether there's bad bounces or not, when the score ends up like that, you just have to look at yourself," Joe Pavelski said. "We didn't do enough." The Sharks will hope to find a bit more from themselves, and maybe get some puck luck too, this Friday as they take on the rival Anaheim Ducks from the Honda Center.