Despite scoring first and leading in shots on net for most of the game, the San Jose Sharks fell 5-1 to the Winnipeg Jets Wednesday night.
In just their second loss in 10 games, San Jose (13-12-1) could not convert on six power play opportunities, while the Jets (15-9-1) scored five unanswered goals to take the lead.
Team captain Logan Couture said:
“We just weren’t good enough. Power play wasn’t good, kind of sucked the life out of us. We didn’t have any emotion in the game.”
“Hellebuyck always plays well in here. If we play a goal early maybe or aren’t playing from behind all night, but he didn’t give us that opportunity to get engaged in the game that way. And we didn’t have a response.”
Just a minute and a half into the game, forward Kevin Labanc drew a holding penalty, but the Sharks could not get a shot on net through the power play.
Four minutes later, Radim Simek received an interference penalty, but the Sharks No. 1 penalty kill in the NHL shut down the Jets, in large part due two big saves by goaltender Aaron Dell against leading Winnipeg scorer Mark Scheifele.
With the momentum from the penalty kill, the Sharks opened the scoring. Joe Thornton’s pass slipped through two Winnipeg defensemen, allowing Melker Karlsson to speed past with the puck on a breakaway. Karlsson snapped a shot past Connor Helleybuck’s glove for the 1-0 lead with 10:32 left in the first period. Mario Ferraro also earned an assist.
The Sharks earned a chance to extend the lead when Winnipeg was given a delay of game penalty for sending the puck out of play, but could not put a shot on net.
When Timo Meier received a tripping penalty, the Jets began to build their lead.
The Jets then took the lead with less than two minute remaining in the opening period. As the Sharks went for a change, Winnipeg’s David Gustafsson used the open ice to get past Erik Karlsson score his first NHL goal.
“I don’t have an answer why we didn’t have as much energy as we needed to tonight. Even on the nights you don’t these are the kind of nights, when you’re winning, that your goalie steals you a game, your power play wins you a game, we didn’t have anything going tonight.”
Early in the second period, the Jets struck again. From behind the Sharks net, Kyle Connor fed Scheifele, who finally scored on his third shot of the night for a 3-1 lead 3:30 into the second period.
Tempers flared with 8:08 to go in the second period after a Jets power play. A scrum in front of the San Jose net led to a roughing penalty to Winnipeg’s Jack Roslovic.
The Sharks power play continued to struggle, only getting one shot on net through the man advantage. Right after, the Jets created a 4-on-1 opportunity as Roslovic stepped out of the penalty box. While Dell stopped Wheeler’s initial shot, Roslovic buried the rebound to extend the lead to 4-1.
After an interference penalty to Winnipeg’s Anthony Bitetto with 1:51 left in the second period the Sharks ramped up the desperate attack. They put five shots on net, but the period ended with the score unchanged.
The Sharks earned another power play when Neal Pionk interfered with Ferraro, but were again shut down by Winnipeg’s 29th ranked penalty kill. Couture said:
“It wasn’t good. Entries weren’t good. Zone time, we were kind of rushing it, passes weren’t on. We weren’t executing.”
An empty netter by Connor extended the Jets lead to 5-1 with 5:13 left.
San Jose’s final power play chance came when Scheifele took a cross-checking penalty with 2:20 left in the game, but the Sharks again could not get a shot on net. DeBoer said:
“We were lifeless. I don’t know what the answer is. We have a lot of hockey left to play here in the next two to three weeks, so I hope it’s not fatigue. But if it is, we gotta rebound. You get what you earn in this league usually and we didn’t do enough to win the game tonight.”
This was the Sharks fourth straight game playing 11 forwards and seven defensemen due to an injury that has sidelined second line center Tomas Hertl. DeBoer said:
“You start to miss him. He can miss a handful of games and you can survive, but it definitely catches up with you. You definitely start to miss his minutes.”
The Sharks host the Los Angeles Kings Friday afternoon at 1 p.m.