Losing to the Kings is no more fun outdoors than it is inside, but the Sharks can take solace in the fact that they lost a game in which they actually played pretty well. Or, maybe the fans can anyway.
"Apparently [we didn't play well enough to win] because we lost," said Tommy Wingels.
Maybe Wingels can't take any comfort in the Sharks corsi tonight, excuse me, SAT, and perhaps it's too late in the season for fans to do the same. The teams ended with an even 62 each in corsi for, which is a far cry from the Sharks having their butts kicked by the Edmonton Oilers.
That being said, the win moves the Kings into a tie with the Sharks in the standings — and with three games in hand. With the Sharks slipping out of the playoff picture they have fewer and fewer chances to rely on good play to pick up the results they're looking for. Still, if the Sharks play the way they did tonight the rest of the season, they should be in okay shape to make the playoffs.
Whether or not they'll do anything if they get there is another matter entirely.
Los Angeles dominated play from the get-go and turned it into a goal as Kyle Clifford deflected a shot taken by Jake Muzzin. San Jose didn't really find a way into the game on a possession basis until the second period, but a strong push at the end of the first resulted in their lone goal of the game from a bad angle on a Brent Burns shot.
The second period was controlled by the Sharks, but they couldn't turn it into a goal despite peppering Jonathan Quick with 15 shots compared to the Kings' six.
"[We'll know we're in trouble] when there are zero games left and we're not in the playoffs," said Couture. "I think this group is going to push as hard as it can to make the playoffs, and if we don't, shame on us."
The third period played out a bit more evenly, but two turnovers by the Sharks led to two one-on-one opportunities for Kings with Niemi. The first resulted in a shot that missed the net from Dwight King. The second was the game-winning-goal from Marian Gaborik.
"I thought tonight we were decent," said Couture. "It's different issues every single night. Tonight it was getting pucks out of our neutral zone, I think the ice made that difficult. Tonight was a tough game to tell where you're at, but I think we were better than we've been."
San Jose has plenty of time to think about the loss. They don't play until Thursday when they'll host the Red Wings — at SAP Center, mind you.
- None of the three goals scored tonight were of the super-great-shot variety, but that's not much more than can be expected in an outdoor game. That being said, Niemi ended up with a .931 compared to Quick's .969. So, Quick played pretty well tonight.
- The atmosphere sure seemed great — thought it was hard to tell through what I imagine is bullet-proof glass in the press box. The stands were full and the beauty of California Hockey was in full effect on a night when both teams played pretty well.
- Brent Burns had an absolute monster game. In addition to scoring the only Sharks goal, he also managed to lead all players with a positive 18 in corsi differential.
- Logan Couture did not have his greatest night as a Shark — he missed on a few grade-a scoring opportunities and seemed to have trouble dealing with the ice, which by some accounts seemed just fine and others...less fine.
- The Sharks are 0-1 with John Scott in the lineup in games played outdoors.
- Scott Hannan is still terrible.
- Really terrible.
- Tommy Wingels had a good game and threw hits around like a monster in the first couple of periods. In other words, it was a pretty typical Tommy Wingels game.
- Losing sucks, but the Sharks weren't embarrassed and hockey outdoors is about as great as I thought it would be.