The San Jose Sharks lost another winnable game last night, falling 3-2 in the shootout at home to the Florida Panthers. Now a modest 10-9-3, it was the fourth time this month that the Sharks had failed to get two points from a team that missed the playoffs last season.
At the very least, coach Todd McLellan was happy with how his team responded after giving up an early goal.
“We get scored on in the first 30 seconds on the first shot coming home from that road trip, we could have responded differently. At least we responded positively,” McLellan said, per CSN Bay Area. “I thought we found our game after that. We’re pretty good through about 36 minutes, and then they scored and I thought after that, well into the third period, we were kind of on our heels. Maybe the fear of losing crept in a little bit. Got desperate at the end, and scored.”
Patrick Marleau was the one who salvaged the point, tying the game with just 34 seconds remaining. (And he did it two days after McLellan called out his lack of production, without specifically naming him.)
“I thought when you look at Patty’s game,” McLellan said last night, “he was much more aggressive tonight than he has been with his speed. He drew a penalty shot. Had some chances. Was physically involved. Those are positive signs.”
The Sharks will need more positive signs going forward. If the playoffs started today, they’d miss them for the first time since 2003.
Of course, the playoffs don’t start today; not even close. And, in their defense, the Sharks have played 16 of their first 22 games on the road. But it’s certainly worth noting that San Jose, a perennial regular-season powerhouse, ranks 21st out of 30 in points percentage more than a quarter of the way through their schedule.
“The point is great,” forward Tommy Wingels said, “but we’re not happy with where our game is at and that’s probably the biggest thing we’ll take from tonight.”