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Sharks’ Quinn fumes after Vegas loss, now seeks response: ‘There better be some anger’

By Curtis Pashelka

SAN JOSE – David Quinn feels there’s only one acceptable emotional response for the Sharks when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday to continue a six-game homestand that could go a long way in determining the fate of their season – if it hasn’t happened already.

“There better be some anger,” Quinn said after his team’s 4-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday, “because that was a winnable hockey game for us.”

Quinn voiced his frustrations in no uncertain terms after the Sharks’ latest home loss – one beset by third-period mistakes – which dropped their record to 2-7-0.

The Sharks led 2-1 after two periods but weren’t mentally ready to go for the start of the third. They blew coverage after they lost the opening faceoff, then, shortly after, weren’t where they were supposed to be on another draw taken by Nico Sturm deep in their own zone, leading to Shea Theodore’s game-tying goal at the 55-second mark.

Quinn also saw the Sharks blow faceoff coverage in their 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders on Oct. 18. He and his staff worked on it in detail the next day in practice, and might have felt the issue was resolved.

“It’s just mental. You’ve got to be friggin’ ready when the puck’s dropped on a faceoff,” a heated Quinn said. “We’ve gone over it and we’re going to keep going over it until we get it right. It’s just being mentally ready on a faceoff.

“We’ve simplified it to the point where people have the same responsibilities, win or lose. It’s very simple and we blew coverage.”

“I’m not really sure what happened right off the draw there,” Sturm said. “We totally got lost. All of a sudden (Vegas) had a guy in front of the net alone and then we were scrambling, and the puck ends up in the back of our net.”

There were physical errors as well, with Vegas’ William Karlsson taking over the puck in his own zone, blowing past Erik Karlsson at center ice, and whistling a wrist shot past James Reimer for a 3-2 Golden Knights lead.

“He’s just got to absorb the rush,” Quinn said of the Sharks’ Karlsson. “We have a great shift, have a bunch of chances, and we’re fine. Just absorb the rush.”

Mark Stone scored 62 seconds later and a 2-2 tie quickly turned into a two-goal deficit the Sharks had little chance of overcoming. San Jose still has just one third-period goal this season, and that was an empty netter by Sturm in Sunday’s 3-0 win over Philadelphia.

“We shot ourselves in the foot again at home,” Quinn said. “You’ve got to be better. We’ve got to be better and play 60 minutes. The mistakes cannot be of that magnitude if you’re going to have success in this league. We’ve got to learn some lessons here in a hurry.”

Those mistakes perhaps wouldn’t be as noticeable if the Sharks could find a way to score more than two goals on a manned net in a game. But it still hasn’t happened after nine games, with more than 10 percent of the season already over.

Sturm, a depth centerman, is the Sharks’ leading goal-scorer with four, followed by three from Karlsson and two each from Logan Couture and Evgeny Svechnikov.

Timo Meier, who scored a team-high 35 goals last season, is still looking for his first one this season. Tomas Hertl has gone eight games without a goal since he scored in the Sharks’ season opener on Oct. 7.

“I know I have to be better. We know we have to score goals,” Hertl said. “We don’t score much, but it has to start with us and we have to still be better.”

The Sharks don’t want to use travel as an excuse, but already this month they’ve been to Europe and back and the East Coast and back.

Entering Wednesday, the two teams that went to Europe, Nashville and San Jose, were 31st and 32nd in the 32-team NHL in goals scored per game at 2.29 and 1.89.

Now, at least, there’s some time for the Sharks to settle into a routine at home.

“I think Nashville is probably struggling a little more than they normally would,” Sturm said. “It’s not an excuse, but it has been tough going all the way to Europe, then we were home for a couple of days, and then another three-hour time difference to the East Coast, and now we’re back again.

“That being said, we’re home for two weeks now so we got to find a way to get some points in the bank here.”

Time is starting to run out.

Source: Paradise Post