Jabber Jaws: Labanc, “We just let that game get out of hand.”
The home team just can’t seem to win in their own arena.
Following a three-game win streak on the road, the San Jose Sharks have extended their home record to 1-6-3 with a loss against the Detroit Red Wings.
Kevin Labanc put the home team on the board first off of a between-the-legs pass from Erik Karlsson. Though the Red Wings responded with a goal from Filip Hronek, Matt Nieto scored off a backhander to give San Jose the lead heading into the second period, a goal that gave rookie Nick Cicek his first NHL point.
Detroit came out hot in the second period, scoring the two lone goals in the period from David Perron and Jake Walman, respectively.
The third period is where things really shifted — Joe Veleno scored on a wraparound attempt to give the visitors a two-goal lead, but Sharks captain Logan Couture banked a rebound and Erik Karlsson fired a wrister from the circle to tie the game at four apiece. However, the effort wasn’t quite enough, as the Red Wings scored three goals in the final six minutes of play to seal the deal in San Jose.
Following the loss, head coach David Quinn, winger Kevin Labanc and goaltender James Reimer took to the mic to address the loss, comparing the game to Tuesday’s in Vegas, and puck management.
Here’s what they had to say:
On the flow of the game: There were a lot of great moments for us. Unfortunately, we just gave up goals. Especially in the second period — we had a really good first period, and they flipped the switch on us in the second. We’re down 3-2 and they get one early in the third. We battled back from that, put ourselves in a position, but that fifth goal was just too easy. It’s disappointing.
On comparing this game to Tuesday’s in Vegas: We didn’t fall flat in the third, we fell flat in the second. We played really well in the first period, and we got away from the things we were doing. We’ve been talking about establishing off the rush, getting to the hash marks, but we kind of reverted back a bit. Both goals were caused by turnovers beside the blue line where we slowed up looking to make a play. After that, we did a good job, hit some posts, made some chances, tied it, but it’s disappointing how we gave up that fifth goal.
On the second period: There were long stretches where we did a lot of good things, played the right way, but when you get away from that, you end up suffering. That’s what happened. We spent way too much time in our own end in the second because of the turnovers. Our defense got tired from extended shifts in our own end. It’s tough for everybody. You really have to manage the puck, and we’re doing a much better job doing that, just got away from it tonight.
It was really driven by our turnovers, but they upped the ante, turned the heat up a bit and we didn’t respond. As much as it was us not being as sharp as we were in the first, a lot of it had to do with them turning it up and we didn’t match it.
On puck management: Even in that last homestand, we played a lot of good hockey, we just didn’t win. We talked about the big mistakes we made at crucial times, so I think it was more of that. Tonight, it was the turnovers.
On James Reimer: He’s been really good for us. Not everybody’s going to have their A-game every night. We have to do more to help him out, bail him out.
On Nick Cicek: He’s been good for two games. He doesn’t seem fazed by the moment — plays with a lot of confidence, defends hard, poised with the puck. I’m happy for him.
On the flow of the game: We had good bits and pieces in the first, good bits and pieces in the second, good bits and pieces in the third, but it just comes down to playing a full 60 the right way — good hockey, hard to play against, and we didn’t do that. We didn’t manage the puck well. We had chances as well, we really did, but we just let that game get out of hand.
On comparing this game to Tuesday’s in Vegas: It’s definitely disappointing, but at the same time, you can take a lot of good out of that game. We created a lot of good chances, but this one hurts. We were feeling really good in the locker room, but we just have to reset, recharge our batteries, and get ready for Saturday.
On Karlsson: He’s really feeling himself. He’s just a good player. He’s been playing some really good hockey offensively and defensively — he’s just got that skill where the puck doesn’t seem to leave his stick, he can just carry it through the defensive zone, neutral zone. He’s just got that patience where he can hold onto the puck. He’s a good player, great attribute to the team.
On his linemates: I feel like our line could have had another two, three, maybe four. We’ve been creating a lot of chances around the net. We just have to keep creating them, and hopefully we get to bear down on a few of those and get to help out the team. Our line has been playing pretty solid, so we just have to keep that momentum going and rally for the team.
On the game overall: Unfortunate. We had a chance to get some points, but we couldn’t get it done. I mean, obviously, I don’t have to wait for the question — I wasn’t good enough tonight. When you lose, everyone on the team looks at what they could have done better, and for me, I wasn’t quite sharp enough tonight. Just unfortunate, because we battled hard and probably deserved a point.
On the flow of the game: I don’t think it was a super clean game — I don’t know that anybody on either side is happy with the scrambly game. It was just one of those games where you just grind it out and try and get some points so you feel good about yourself. Tonight, we just couldn’t do it.
Your feelings range throughout the game, and from game to game. The key is, regardless of how you feel, you just focus on your game and stopping the next puck. There’s been times where I haven’t felt great and you play great, and there’s times where you feel great and you don’t play great. Feelings are fickle, different thoughts run through your head when you’re standing back there by yourself for two and a half hours — lots of things are going through your mind, you just try not to pay attention to any of that, just focus on your game. Sometimes you lose a race, sometimes you don’t.
On the Suter goal: Yeah, I just saw that [Suter] was a little ways ahead of [Karlsson], and I just thought I’d come out and slide and get it out of harm’s way before he got there. But obviously it was a bad read, the puck slowed down.
I’m not even quite sure how the play transpired. I saw that he was going to win a footrace, so I just thought I would be able to come out and get it out of harm’s way, but it didn’t turn out that way.
On the Seider goal: I’m honestly not quite sure — the pass went across, I thought I had a good sight on it, and it just eluded me, avoided me. It’s just one of those where you wish you could have stopped it — nine times out of ten, 99 times out of 100, you do — puck just found a way into the net.
On his approach to the outcome of the game: Forget about it. I’ve played a lot of games in this league, and I’ve played a couple bad ones. Sometimes they go your way, sometimes they don’t. You’re frustrated and it sucks, but next time you’re in there, just stick to your game and good things will happen.
*Lightly edited for clarity.