There’s no sugarcoating it: the San Jose Sharks have done a lot of losing lately. Breaking out of a five-game losing streak is more than just falling into bad habits and sloppy hockey — there’s a mental aspect, too, one acknowledged by head coach David Quinn to the media following last night’s 5-4 win over the Dallas Stars.
The victory didn’t come easily, and those bad habits were so close to biting San Jose right in the tuchus, as the Stars clawed back from a three-goal deficit in the third period until they were just one goal shy of earning overtime. A regulation win has been a rarity so far this season. The Sharks played like a team who didn’t know what to do with a lead, but Quinn remains certain that they will build on what they learned last night.
Here’s everything he had to say postgame:
On locking down a lead: If we’d “locked down,” 5-2 [wouldn’t have] turned in 5-4 (laughing). But we’re slowly learning what it takes to win hockey games. Getting a big snafu at the end of the first period, we give up with 20 seconds to go, but after that, I really liked a lot of our game. Our breakouts were clean, we caused a lot of turnovers, we went to the net hard in the O-zone — there was a lot of good things in our game and we took a step forward to learn how to win again. It’s gonna take a little time — we’re still fragile from the last two weeks, the losing we’ve done and the way we’ve done it, but we took a step forward tonight.
On scoring early in the period: I thought we were on our toes all night. We played an aggressive style — we stayed on top of ‘em, we didn’t play with fear and we’ve got some guys that can put the puck in the back of the net. That’s kind of how it evolved, especially the first shift in both periods, the second and third period.
On Dallas holding the team off for 18 minutes straight: Human nature kicks in for a lot of things. [Dallas] upped their ante because they’re down by two and we get a little bit safe. Again, I think that’s part of our mentality because we haven’t had a lot of success lately. You’re up 4-2 and our mindset changes a little bit. We get conservative. We’ll learn. We’ll learn, and we got two points tonight we sorely needed.
On making changes for back-to-back games: Yeah, we adjusted the fact that we were going to play better and have better breakouts. (laughing) That’s pretty much what we focused on after last night’s game.
Listen, we want to play a certain style, regardless of our opponent, regardless of the situation. We didn’t make any adjustment other than the fact that we focused on breaking the puck out of our own end better, and we did that tonight.
*Lightly edited for clarity.