Sharks vs. Blues, Game 4, The Morning After: San Jose has to regroup
San Jose got its butt kicked on Saturday. Now it's time to regroup.
The Sharks lost its second game of the Western Conference Finals on Saturday night, putting San Jose in a 2-2 split for the second time this postseason. Despite the loss, the Sharks head to St. Louis for game five knowing they can clean up a few parts of their game to win the rubber game on Monday.
San Jose did not play well on Saturday, giving up four-straight goals before finally getting on the board in the third period. However, the Sharks can take a few positives from Saturday's loss. A great third period by San Jose ended up putting the Sharks ahead in score-adjusted fenwick — I know that comes as little consolation after losing 6-3, but it shows San Jose never gave up in a contest that was all but over after two periods.
After a pretty even first period saw the Sharks fall behind 2-0, I hoped to see some in-game adjustments in the second period. Those adjustments didn't come and it wasn't until San Jose found itself in a 4-0 hole that the Sharks got a foothold in the game. That foothold can likely be credited more to the Blues taking their foot off the throttle than anything else.
What encourages me about the Sharks play is that most of the goals against came on big mistakes. Joe Thornton made a terrible pass to set up that shorthanded goal and Paul Martin made an uncharacteristic turnover to give the Blues an easy tally. Two of the Sharks best players factored on goals against — that's something that (probably) won't happen the rest of the series.
The biggest mistake you can make after this performance is to overreact. The Sharks played poorly, there's no doubt about that, but that's not the end of the world. San Jose played absolutely terribly in game six of the second round against the Nashville Predators (yes, even though the game went to overtime) and managed to turn things around for game seven.
Momentum isn't real — and if it is, it's so easily stolen that it doesn't really make a difference anyway. The Sharks entered game four with all the "momentum" in the world and it didn't seem to do them a whole lot of good against the Blues. Likewise, San Jose won't pack up and fold now that the Blues managed to score more than two goals in a game.
So, you know, let's chill out. It's only one game. The Sharks are still a very good game and have a chance to win their third game of the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. This series was never going to be easy, so let's weather the lows while riding the incredible highs playoff hockey has to offer. Our hearts and livers will be better for it.