It’s no secret that the San Jose Sharks are on the road trip of death. After having met the Washington Capitals in a 4-1 textbook win, the Sharks have dropped the last two games against the NHL’s top teams in frustrating losses to the Florida Panthers (5-4, OT) and Carolina Hurricanes (2-1).
San Jose kept pace with a grueling defensive game in Carolina. Head coach Bob Boughner, James Reimer, and Andrew Cogliano met with media afterward and spoke about the team’s defensive game and tomorrow’s faceoff against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
On generating offense: We did a good job in generating offense. We had more chances than they did today, we just couldn’t find a way to solve [Frederik] Andersen early enough. I just looked at the analytic report … We only allowed three inner-slot [shots, third period], and ten for the game.
On Reimer’s return to the net after yesterday’s 50-save game: He was great, especially early, he made a couple of really good saves. I thought we played hard around him — they [Carolina Hurricanes] obviously spent more time in our end, and a little more possession, but Reims was great and we tried to be strong in front of him.
I thought we were more physical in the D-zone, we blocked quite a bit of shots. So it was a good team effort, but Reims was one of our best players, again.
On the Sharks’ defensive game: There’s not a lot of room out there, and [with] both teams clogging things up. If we can have this kind of urgency and speed and take that into Tampa Bay and give ourselves a chance — we were two minutes away from at least giving ourselves a point, if not two, and coming out of this road trip five out of six. So we still have one ahead of us, then we have a break, and that’s going to be the message tomorrow ... empty the tanks and throw everything we got at it before we get a chance to rest.
On Marc-Edouard Vlasic: I thought he played hard — all our D [defensemen] had a decent game back there. We were more physical tonight. We could have had better puck movement back there, but they’re [Hurricanes] are a pinching team, and hard all over the ice, and that doesn’t give you a lot of options coming around that net. So sometimes you have to flip it and put it behind them, and I thought all our D did that.
On the game against Carolina: I thought we buckled down and defended really well … they play hard and get pucks to the net and hope for bounces, and we were doing the same thing and they just got the last bounce. That’s the way sports work sometimes.
On how he’s feeling after two hard games: Great — I mean, obviously playing back-to-back is tough with travel and a shortened schedule, but I mean, that’s why you train all summer — so you can be ready for this. The training staff did a great job doing what they could to put Humpty-dumpty back together again and get ready to play tonight.
On the road trip as a whole: We’ve played pretty well. I think you’ve got to give some credit to us in terms of we’re playing some really good teams, probably the best teams in the league … [against Florida Panthers] we were chasing a little bit and undermanned, but we hung on for a point.
You know, tonight’s disappointing. [If] you get it to overtime, you can maybe get two points out of that game, and all of a sudden you’re 2-1 going to Tampa and having a really good road trip. I don’t know what else we could have done differently. I thought we played a really hard game and unfortunately they got the last goal before the end.
Looking ahead to Tampa: There’s teams in our division who are continuing to win. Tonight, if you can get a point or two points out of that, it makes things feel a lot better. We played a good team, and with Tampa, we saw in that last game against them that if you don’t play the right way, if you don’t play hard, and very detailed, you’re not going to be close to even winning the game.
I think we owe it to ourselves to finish this road trip the right way. We’ve played hard, Reims has played back-to-back games, you don’t see that often — we’ve got two of our best defensemen out, guys have played very hard back there and come in. Special teams have been good — I think we’re at a point where we have to lay it on the line in terms of playing our best game.
*Lightly edited for clarity.