After losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 on Thursday, the San Jose Sharks described opposing goalie Marc-Andre Fleury as “shaky” and that he was “fighting it.” One could argue the same might be said about the Sharks, as they also lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3 on Friday.
That’s 10 goals allowed over two nights (although Carolina’s fifth tally was an empty-netter). The Sharks built a 2-0 lead in the first period but weren’t able to protect it against the Canes tonight.
One wouldn’t expect that sort of work from “the best team in hockey,” which is how Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma described the Sharks before Thursday’s game. Maybe Bylsma would say his proclamation was “shaky” and that he was “fighting it” in retrospect.
(Of course, it’s a long season, so a tough pair of games here and there doesn’t condemn the Sharks big-picture.)
The Sharks unraveled in particular in the third period tonight, as a 2-1 lead turned into a 5-3 defeat. While San Jose showered Fleury with 45 shots but still lost yesterday, the numbers imply that they petered out in back-to-back games, as Carolina fired 10 more shots on goal (35-25).
While it’s easy (and, admittedly, pretty fun) to latch onto a few Sharks statements after this defeat, the Hurricanes deserve credit for the win. Carolina is showing signs of life with a three-game winning streak and five wins in their last seven games, pushing them above .500 (13-12-5) on the season. This could be an important confidence boost as they’re heading out for a four-game Western road trip beginning on Monday.
San Jose remains among the NHL’s elite at 19-5-5, but perhaps games like tonight might humble them a bit.