“Fatigue killed the Sharks tonight,” Dan Rusanowsky said on last night’s radio broadcast.
The Sharks didn’t start fast, looking sluggish in the first 10 minutes, and seemed to be often swinging at the puck. Kevin Labanc’s tip in goal from a quick Brent Burns shot in the middle of the first gave a bit of life to the Sharks —
— but this did not last.
The exhaustion of back-to-back games started catch up a bit with the Sharks in the second period, as they started chase the Leafs. However, even with a good performance by Martin Jones and a lot of fortunate bounces that surprising didn’t lead to Leafs goals kept the game close until the final minutes.
The Leafs were often able to get behind the Sharks defense and get many scoring chances in and around the crease.
The Sharks were dominated in just about every area of the game. At all strengths and by every measure, the Sharks were behind the Leafs. The main one that sticks out is how many more scoring chances the Leafs had compared to the Sharks. Per Natural Stat Trick, the Sharks were out-chanced 14 to 29 in scoring chances and 5 to 10 in high danger scoring chances.
Play at 5-on-5 was a big problem for the Sharks, as it was the main reason for them getting out-chanced. Again, every goal against was at 5-on-5 and again, the Sharks struggled to produce themselves. The Sharks have only scored 18 of their 29 goals a 5-on-5, and often only getting chances when on the power play. With only having one power play with no shots on goal, they were not able to get offense from the man-advantage last night.
The only bright spot for the Sharks was their penalty kill. They were able to kill off all five penalties — however, they took penalties early in the first and third periods. In the first 11 games of the season, the penalty kill has been the best part of the Sharks’ game, improving to 92.5 percent.
Despite the loss and fatigue, Jones had a very good game and was the best player on the Sharks. Having to five kill penalties and stopping 23 shots of 26 shots, he looked on top of his game until the last shot he faced which resulted in a goal from Auston Matthews. Although he had a slow start to the season, even in losses he has played a lot better than what we saw last season.
Again this is being said, but something needs to change for the Sharks. However they can improve their play at even-strength, whether that’s bringing in a call-up, or finding a way to get players already on the roster going, something need to change in the Sharks’ game.