After the San Jose Sharks’ 3-2 overtime win in the rematch at home against the Detroit Red Wings, head coach Bob Boughner, Timo Meier, Jeffrey Viel and Logan Couture met with members of the media, to discuss the Sharks’ 6-0 overtime record, what positive trends the Sharks showcased against the Red Wings and (of course), the octopus.
The Sharks have won five games in overtime this season, and one game in a shootout, and it’s an impressive stat that boosts the teams’ confidence. And, with the last meeting against the Detroit Red Wings a clinic of costly turnovers, sloppy plays, and missed passes, this rematch showed a lot of character.
Boughner called last night the “most complete 60 minutes” from a game this season, noting that “We didn’t let anything frustrate us.”
Here are the highlights from postgame media availability:
On the overtime goal: It was weird, ‘cause the crowd was screaming and yelling and I didn’t know what was going on. I looked up, I thought there was a jersey on the ice and then I got closer and saw it was an octopus. Then, [laughs] y’know, kind of skated around. Burnzie made a pass to Dahls, went off a shinpad. He made a great seam pass to Burnzie, and then puck was kind of sitting there on the goal line and I was able to whack it in.
On the octopus: I didn’t know what they were challenging at first. The refs said they were looking at the octopus possibly being in the middle of the play, and if it got in anyone’s way, they would’ve disallowed it. Then they said they were checking for offside.
On overtime wins: You always want two points, so six OT wins — I think it’s five and maybe a shootout win — you feel confident once it gets to overtime. That’s a good feeling, you feel like you’re gonna win. We’ve been able to win early in a few of these overtimes, so it’s nice.
On his return from COVID protocol: Oh, I had energy. I was in a hotel room for five days, sitting and thinking about how I wish I was skating, on the ice. Lot of pent up energy. I was happy to get out just this morning with the guys. That was my first time skating with the guys this morning and it brought some more energy, being around the guys.
On Dahlen’s pass: He made a really skilled play to find me backdoor and it’s nice to get one on the power play.
On the octopus: That was something you don’t see every day. It’s kind of their tradition, and I guess it brought us luck, ‘cause we scored with it on the ice.
On the Sharks’ success at 3-on-3: We’ve got some guys that can hang onto pucks, make plays and real skilled D, with Burnzie and Karly. I think every time we’ve got guys on the ice, [that’s] three threats to score. It was nice to get the overtime win tonight and keep that going.
On connection with Brent Burns: Burnzie made a nice play to me. I saw the D kind of flat-footed, so I tried to take it to the net and got a bounce, driving the net.
We [he and Burns] kind of got an eye contact there — I think he saw me and he saw they were making a change. We always want to play fast, play up the ice, so that was a great play.
On his fight with Givani Smith: That was part of my game. It was kind of a dirty play by him [on Middleton], so I want to remind him — or remind anyone — that we’re gonna defend each other and we’re gonna protect our teammates.
On his line with Adam Raska: Raska’s a guy with a lot of energy, a young guy that plays really hard. He made a few good hits today. We’ve built that chemistry since training camp a little bit and we played together on the Barracuda, so we’re used to playing with each other. We both play really hard and [Nick] Merkley completes that trio.
On initial postgame thoughts: I wasn’t necessarily a huge fan of the 5-on-3 call. We did an unbelievable job of killing that to the last second. That sometimes can take the wind out of your sails. I think their second goal obviously can take wind out of your sails. We just kept comin’. We produced a lot of offense tonight. I gotta give Nedeljkovic a lot of praise for the way he played. Sometimes when you’re snake-bitten and things aren’t going in, it allows you to get frustrated, but it didn’t rattle us tonight. That was important to see.
On Brent Burns: Burnzie’s starting to find that other level of his game. He’s done a lot of great things this year, but he’s still got a lot of offense in him. His ability, just to get pucks to the net, I think he’s jumping a little more into the play and trying to roam a little more in the offensive zone and good things are happening. The puck’s following him a but right now, it’s nice to see.
On the power play: We were frustrated with our power play the last couple games, especially in Detroit. Not so much even the short-handed goals we gave up, but the lack of offense we were producing on it. We decided to put Dahlen back there and go to our old set up — obviously a little leisure with Cooch back in the line-up — but there’s some adjustments we made from the video the last time we played Detroit. They’re a good penalty-killing team and they come at you. We bypassed a couple times and got it underneath their top pressure and I thought we had some decent looks.
On potential roster movements: We’re gonna have some guys probably coming back. I think that we have Rudy coming back Thursday, I think we have a chance of having Bonino back, so obviously with two veteran guys that’ll go back in the line-up, we gotta make some adjustments.
The good thing about this team this year is we’ve gone through a lot and needed so many guys from the Barracuda and every time they’ve come up, they’ve answered the bell and tonight was no different. Viel had a huge goal for us, he had a fight, a little history with Smith there from last game and Middleton. I liked the way we just sent a message and stuck up for our teammates and good things happen that way. Vieler has a huge goal after that.
On Adam Raska’s NHL debut: I thought he did well, he drew a penalty, he threw his body around. These guys are all contributing in their own ways.
On the Sharks’ 6-0 OT record: [The extra point for the win] are huge, because those are the points you look at at the end of the season and sometimes you’re sitting close to a spot in the playoffs, and you always look back and say you could’ve gotten a couple points along the way. We’re gonna collect as many points as we can now, especially at home. It’s nice to see us in these close games and being comfortable in close games and being able to keep executing. We didn’t lay off, we kept our foot on the gas, and we’re finding ways to win, even when things aren’t going our way offensively.
I’ve talked about this all year, identity and having to win these 2-1, 3-2 games, and we’ve done a lot of that lately.
[...] We did everything we could tonight. I haven’t seen the analytics yet, but I love our chances that we produce, where we produced them from. We didn’t give up a lot from the inner slot, which is important for us. I’m sure when I look at that package tomorrow, it’s gonna favor us. You could tell just by the feel on the bench. That’s our game. We’re gonna find ways to get pucks past goaltenders that are having a hot night like tonight. I’m very happy with the complete 60 minutes, and some.
*Lightly edited for clarity.