With so much of the pregame chatter about how Game 2 ended, it was much to do about nothing as the Sharks limped through 60 minutes en route to a 4-3 loss.
The St Louis Blues now hold a dominant 2-1 edge over the Sharks in the opening round series, and they got plenty of help from the boys in teal.
Much like the Game 3 of the Penguins / Flyers series the Sharks allowed their emotions to rule the day, and paid the price via 3 power play goals that gave the Blues all the cushion they needed.
Most egregious of all was Captain Joe Thornton’s roughing minor with 2:35 left to play and the Sharks applying the pressure.
I’d say the lazy penalties, poor special teams and sloppy composure ruined the game, but to be honest the Sharks weren’t great at even strength either.
While I sat through the torturous swing of bad play and offensive zone turnovers that was the middle of the third quarter, I had to exercise every bit of restraint to stop myself from throwing my remote at my TV.
Not that I hate my poor TV who has taken the brunt of my often-hockey-fueled anger rampages, no my anger was directed at the supposed “hockey experts”.
No, not Ray “I should be following the Warriors” Ratto, I mean Bret Hedican and Drew Remenda who kept talking about how the Sharks 5 on 5 play was so much more superior.
What freaking game were they watching? Because by my count the Sharks had only 5 true scoring chances at even strength. When the team wasn’t turning the puck over, they were losing the battle in front and along the boards.
Getting pushed to the outside, horrible breakouts, not getting to rebounds, offensive zone turnovers and perimeter dominated shot selection downed the Sharks in Game 3.
Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
Ken Hitchcock loves to coach against the Sharks, because he clearly outcoached, outchanged and dictated the tempo despite Todd McLellan being the home coach.
The team also showed no adjustments, from period 1 to the final buzzer and in fact didn’t show much urgency until Joe Thornton was escorted to the box late in the third period.
The team simply has to be better, and it starts with Todd McLellan on down. His system didn’t work in Game 3, and he showed little in the way of flexibilty and adjustment for the lack of success.
What Worked :
Joe Thornton : With 3 assists and 3 shots in almost 20 minutes of ice time, the Captain is leading the way. He had a “Shea Weber” moment, taking a poor roughing penalty with his team pushing for a score.
He needs to be better, and he knows that.
Brent Burns : With 1 goal and 3 shots, his true value is starting to show as Burnsie logged over 22 minutes last night and was defensively sound for the majority of the game.
What didn’t work :
Douglas Murray : I love the big man, but Crank has got to settle down and play within his game. Delivering the nasty hit, sticking up for teammates, clearing the crease are his strong suits.
Taking the puck on an end to end rush, and promptly turning it over 3 strides into the neutral zone isn’t.
Moore-Mitchell-Galiardi - After all the negative talk the Wellwood-Mitchell combo created in last year’s playoff ouster, GM Doug Wilson spoke about getting faster, bigger and meaner.
This line isn’t doing that, and at times looked physically incapable of taking the body against the Blues. The coaching staff needs to shake this line up.
It’s going to be an uphill battle, but we all knew this series wasn’t going to be over anytime soon. The Sharks will need to bring their A game for Game 4, hopefully the boys can get it into gear.