The Morning After: How about taking fewer penalties next time?
Giving a team seven chances on the power play is a good way to lose.
Some games call for a nuanced perspective and careful parsing of individual moments. Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks is not one of those games. San Jose sent Vancouver to a staggering seven power plays and the Canucks took advantage on three of them. That was enough.
The penalty kill had a rough night, that's to be sure, but I've long held the best defense against a good power play is staying out of the box. San Jose didn't get the benefit of many calls on Saturday, although the team did go to the player advantage three times themselves, but that can hardly be an excuse given the staggering number of times the Sharks found themselves shorthanded.
Micheal Haley, god bless him, erased any bit of good will he had earned after his goal by committing a double minor penalty, which the Canucks capitalized on. It's unfair to single out Haley, of course, as everyone from Joe Pavelski to Joel Ward spent time in the sin bin for some amount of time. Still, with better players available it's perplexing that head coach Pete DeBoer insists on playing guys who just aren't as skilled as the ones hanging out in the press box.
The Sharks penalty kill has had a bit of a rough go of it as late, but I don't see a reason to panic about that just yet. San Jose has a very average penalty killing unit so the best way to avoid letting special teams dictate games is to...right, draw more penalties than you take. Thankfully San Jose remains pretty adept at doing just that.
While the Sharks have slipped just a hair in this area as of late, they're still drawing more penalties than they take on a pretty consistent basis. It's also worth noting that San Jose's save percentage while shorthanded has been a bit below average, which certainly isn't helping matters any.
Still, even a very good penalty killing team with a very good goalie (hi James Reimer, welcome to the team!) is going to struggle fending off seven power plays from the opposition. Saturday's night game is likely an aberration, though it's not the first time the Sharks have lost a game this way this year (hi Calgary!) and...well hey, I'm not saying this will be the last either.
San Jose's schedule doesn't get any lighter as a day off tomorrow is followed up by a back-to-back against another pair of Western Canadian teams that are not very good. Staying out of the box would be a good way to pick up a valuable four points.