The Sharks lost to the Penguins because of goaltending on Thursday night, which is something I haven’t had the privilege of typing this year. When San Jose fell to Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup Finals it was because they just weren’t good enough to win.
The Penguins played with a severely depleted lineup and the stats tell a similar story. They had only 10 even strength shots — they scored on two of them. That’s a cool .800 even strength save percentage by Martin Jones, which quite frankly isn’t good enough to win a hockey game.
There’s no deeper trend to read into that, of course. Jones’ even strength save percentage is .923, which is the sixth best among goaltenders with at least 100 minutes played at even strength. Everything is fine, but on Thursday night ... well, things were not.
That’s the score-adjusted corsi for Thursday night’s game. San Jose is the blue line — and this is at all strengths. The chart looks a whole lot better if you restrict it to even strength, where the Sharks dominated the Penguins. That’s what they should’ve done — Pittsburgh didn’t have its best forward or its best defender. That’s why the loss is frustrating, of course, but it didn’t come as a result of bad play by the Sharks’ skaters.
So there’s no need to panic. The Sharks will go play the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday and quite frankly they should win that game handily. Thursday’s game was about failing to convert on chances, particularly on the power play, and bad goaltending. It doesn’t speak to a greater trend, but it still sucks.
Losing sucks. I get it. Losing to the Penguins really sucks. I especially get that. But there’s no need for massive changes or immense panic after a great performance that ends in a loss. So I guess we’re just going to move on from this and pretend it didn’t happen. Sound good? Good. Sweet.