The Sharks (42-23-7) followed up a disappointing end to a homestand, dropping consecutive games to the Blues and Ducks, with another regulation loss against the hometown Stars (29-33-10) in Dallas, as San Jose’s offensive woes continued in a 1-0 defeat.
The loss leaves the Sharks with a four point lead over Anaheim for first place in the Pacific and endangers their hold on home ice for the playoffs. A difficult road trip lies ahead, and the Sharks are going to have to find a way to score more than zero goals in some of these road games if they want to hold on to the top of the division.
The Sharks active roster looked pretty different from Saturday night’s tilt against Anaheim, making up for the absence of forwards Jannik Hansen (upper body) and Chris Tierney (flu) with the familiar face of Timo Meier and the less familiar face of Danny O’Regan, and the replacement of Dylan DeMelo with the healthy and ready David Schlemko, back after missing the last eight.
The Stars are playing spoiler for roster spots next year at this point, entering tonights action 16 points out of the playoffs with 11 games remaining on the schedule; a difficult deficit to make up even for teams without a save percentage of .892 on the season.
A scoreless first period was partially defined by both teams fighting against a common enemy: ice problems at the American Airlines Center that made the puck bounce around like some kind of rubber disc. Still, the game started to flow in the second half of the stanza as players adapted and simplified their play. Aaron Dell wasn’t tested much, only facing six shots compared to the eight lobbed at Kari Lehtonen at the other end, but he came up strong on a two on one shot from Cody Eakin off of a Patrick Sharp pass.
How Dell-icious is this save?— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) March 21, 2017
Head coach Pete Deboer mixed up his lines midway through the second, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a Curtis McKenzie tally. Adam Cracknell threaded a point shot past Schlemko towards the net and McKenzie tipped it right through Dell at 14:54 for his fifth of the season.
The Sharks got a lucky break to start the third, as Logan Couture got away with a pretty brutal accidental high stick that sent Dan Hamhuis to the second intermission minus a piece of his lip, followed shortly by a roughing penalty to Remi Elie to put the Sharks on the power play. The Sharks couldn’t convert on the ensuing man advantage (again) however, and Lehtonen continued his fantastic evening right through to the final whistle.
The Sharks may get a chance to regroup tomorrow in Minnesota against a Wild team who’ve dropped their last five. That game airs at 5:30 PDT.
- Offense was seriously limited throughout this game, partially due to the choppy ice causing the puck to take a lot of wacky bounces on both teams.
- Meier and Sorensen seemed to be playing pretty well together, Michael Haley notwithstanding.
- The Sharks’ power play couldn’t break through against the leagues 30th ranked penalty kill. This makes me sad. I was really disappointed in the man advantage play of the Sharks until the Stars power play came out in the third. Oof.
- Lehtonen made 30 saves for the shut out. Good for him. I guess. ::sobs::
Fear the Fin Three Stars
- Kari Lehtonen
- Patrick Sharp
- Aaron Dell