Coming off a short break following a 4-1 win at home against the Anaheim Ducks, the Sharks were surely looking to start another win streak against the Coyotes. However, despite getting on the board with a power play goal from Scott Reedy and tying the game after two unanswered goals with a slap shot from Brent Burns, a combination of shots rung off the post mixed with missed opportunities led to the Coyotes victory in the Sharks’ final visit to Gila River Arena.
Following the loss, head coach Bob Boughner, captain Logan Couture, and forward Scott Reedy took to the mic to address the loss, Coyotes winger Clayton Keller’s scary collision and missed scoring opportunities.
Here’s what they had to say:
On Keller’s injury: I know he and [Meloche] made some contact probably five seconds before that happened, and it looked like he just lost an edge or lost his balance going in. It was pretty scary. I’m not sure what the injury is. It’s good to see that he was responsive and up and all that stuff, but it looked like something with the lower body. He went in pretty nasty, not good to see.
On how the stoppage influenced the flow of the game: If anything, I think that would have been a point where our team could rest our big guys and we needed them for the last five minutes. We jumped out there and had some instant chances right away. The building’s quiet, and I think when their best player goes down, it’s tough to recover from if they’re the team that it happens to. It was an eerie few minutes watching them bring the stretcher out. You never want to see that.
On the game itself: Really weird. I thought Vejmelka was obviously their best player. We had multiple chances, but the difference of the game was really that they pounced on our mistakes and could capitalize on them, and we couldn’t on theirs. Especially in parts of the game where we had some breakaways and some barrages where we’re teeing them up from the slot. We had plenty of chances, we had three or four posts tonight. We have to give them credit, their goalie played well and that’s what you get when you don’t capitalize earlier in the game.
On Arizona’s goals: The face-off was a misassignment, the guy was standing all alone in front, so the defenseman had to cover up for the forward who abandoned the slot, so he had two guys to contend with. Obviously, the turnover on their fourth goal was too easy. I thought that our big mistakes ended up in the back of our net. Again, we were in all alone three times on breakaways. They made plenty of mistakes themselves, we just couldn’t capitalize.
On Merkley: I thought he regrouped well. It was unfortunate because at that point in the game, we were playing pretty well. You lose an edge, you go in, and again, there’s another goal that was basically given to them. Those ones are tough to come back from, but I thought Ryan himself responded with a pretty solid game.
On the younger players: Sasha had a good game. Reeds got rewarded for standing in front on the goal, which was good to see. I think [John Leonard] got the original tip on that. They all played fine. We’ll maybe have some healthy guys to throw in tomorrow, so there are no easy decisions, but we’ll see what’s in store when we wake up and check on the health of the time. I thought they all played fine.
On Burns: His energy was good tonight. He was leading the rush, he was bringing a lot of pucks up the ice. keeping pucks alive on pinches, shooting the puck. He had a strong game. That’s what we need from him on a nightly basis. He was really solid, and I just wish that — earlier on in the game — that some of the chances we had were capitalized upon. That was the big difference for me tonight. The more shots you get, the more chances you get, the more frustrated you get. The longer the game goes, the other team is still in it, and things like that can happen like what we saw tonight. We have to regroup, we have another game tomorrow, and hopefully we’ll play well in front of Colorado.
On Keller’s collision: Hard collision with the boards. He was in pain right away, so I was yelling at the ref to blow it. I just hope he’s okay. We were just kind of watching him, all your thoughts are on him at that moment. You want to give him his space and respect that. Once that ends, you have to regroup and we didn’t, we gave up that fourth goal and didn’t have a chance to come back.
You don’t think about it while you’re on the ice, because if you think about getting hurt, you normally do. Once the game ends, you think about it. Our guys in our room are talking about it, and are obviously thinking about him. We’ll reach out to guys on their team and find out how he’s doing later tonight. Hopefully they have answers right now, maybe they don’t. We just hope he’s alright.
On scoring chances: We had chances, but we had three posts: I had one, Tommy hit two, maybe there were more. Two big saves by their goaltender, but we have to score. We have to find a way to score more goals. I believe we’re the bottom-five in the league at goal-scoring, so we have to find a way to put it in the back of the net.
On giving up goals: The breakdowns, the breakdowns cost us. You can’t give up grade-A chances in the slot. If you’re doing that, you have to score more than two, and we didn’t. Reims made some big saves, but you can’t make all of them.
On losing a player: It could be something to rally around. I didn’t think [Arizona] did anything special, to be honest. I thought we turned the puck over and they pounced on it. That just happens. We’re trying to make offensive plays and we’re trying to score a goal.
On his goal: I thought it was a good play by Merkley up top. He realized how much time he had up there. He hit a couple of pucks towards the net and then the second one was a nice shot, I think it went off Lenny in the slot there and I just tried to keep an eye on it and stay in front of it.
On Keller’s collision: You never want to see a player go down like that. It’s pretty scary, it can happen to anyone out there. You just hope and pray for the best for him. We had to find it in us to finish the game there afterward.
He’s a year older than me, but I’ve always looked up to him throughout the ranks and keep in touch with him here and there. It’s definitely tough to see him go down like that, and I’ll reach out to him and see how he’s doing.
On having a bad luck game: I think we had plenty of chances offensively. Their goalie came up big for them a couple of times. We have to dial it in a bit defensively, and take advantage of our chances when we have them offensively.
*Lightly edited for clarity.