San Jose played poorly against Los Angeles last night as the top line got its butt kicked by the Kings’ top unit of Marian Gaborik, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. That regulation loss snapped a long streak of dominance from the Sharks over the Kings. San Jose had beaten L.A. in eight of the last 10 meetings in the regular season and postseason combined and hadn’t lost in regulation in 10 straight.
That’s something worth celebrating, even if the streak ended with a thud. Despite the Sharks’ scoring slide, this is a better team than the one that reached the Stanley Cup Final a year ago. That’s thanks to its youth depth and defense.
Yeah, the big guns had a rough night and no one other than Logan Couture played well at even strength. It was just one of those nights. San Jose hasn’t had too many of those this year. There isn’t a standard to quantify a bad night at the office, but the Sharks were outshot by 18.36 (score and venue adjusted corsi at 5v5 play according to corsica.hockey).
That’s the worst night of the season for the Sharks by that metric. The Nov. 15 nightmare against the Carolina Hurricanes was previously the standard bearer for horror shows, while Dec. 27’s 3-2 OT win over Anaheim and Nov. 23’s 2-1 win over Chicago round out the top four.
The good news is that the Sharks have only been outshot (or outcorsi’d if you prefer, I guess) by 10 or more seven times this season, so they don’t make habit out of showing up bleary eyed to work. That’s why they’re professional hockey players and we’re hanging out here on Sunday afternoon.
Want more good news? The Sharks have outshot their opponents by 10 or more 13 times and have really poured it on (20 or more) three times. Their best performance came in the 3-2 overtime loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Nov. 19. That figures. They outshot the Coyotes by 33.88. Their next best performance was the 4-0 beatdown of the New Jersey Devils in their next game.
So San Jose’s 3-2 loss against the Kings was their worst of the season in many ways, but it still stands as just a one-goal loss. Of the Sharks 14 losses this season, a whopping nine of them have come by just one goal. That only one of those nine has been in overtime speaks, in my mind, to just how unlucky this team has been and how much better its record could be if it had gotten a few more bounces.
The Sharks are good, a terrible performance last night notwithstanding. Oh yeah, and did I mention it came without Marc-Edouard Vlasic? Right, that might have something to do with it, too.