The Sharks fell 7-2 in Nashville tonight, extending their losing streak to six-straight games.
On the second half of a back to back, the Sharks managed to come on strong in the first period. Despite two goals from Colton Sissons and Cody McLeod, San Jose held their own in the first, matching Nashville twelve to twelve in shots.
The second period granted two more goals from Nashville (James Neal, PK Subban), and one from Justin Braun. Again, shots were tied, this time at eight apiece. Going into the third was hardly different from going into the second, a two goal deficit on their shoulders.
Everything fell apart in the third, anyway.
What went wrong?
Well, the defense wasn't great. There was the glaring absence of Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who was out with the flu. Brent Burns' defensive play was messy at best.
That's not to say the offense showed up, either – at least not when it mattered. The Sharks needed a strong second period and that didn't happen. While they didn't make matters worse for themselves going into the third, it put more pressure on the final twenty minutes and they took their foot off the gas. San Jose surrendered three more goals, giving themselves no room to climb out of the hole.
It didn't help that Logan Couture took a puck to the face late in the second period and didn't return for the third.
It's impossible to avoid talking about the Micheal Haley issue.
Late in the third, Nashville forward Calle Jarnkrok dealt a nasty hit on Haley. Instead of taking advantage of the ensuing power play, Haley charged after Jarnkrok, dropped the gloves, and sucker punched him in the face, resulting in a Nashville power play (which Neal would capitalize on for his second goal of the night).
I'm not going to argue it wasn't an ugly hit, because it was. But because Haley couldn't let the refs handle it, a team that was already short Couture, was then also missing Haley and Donskoi, who sat the penalty for him. He left his already exhausted team with three lines. That's unacceptable.
This is the first time since January of 2011 that the Sharks have lost six in a row. They play again at home versus the Rangers on March 28th.