SAN JOSE -– Too many penalties and not enough penalty killing.
That was the difference in the Sharks’ 4-2 loss to Vancouver at home on Saturday, as they saw a three-game winning streak come to an end.
Vancouver’s first three scores, before a late empty-netter, came with Sharks in the box.
Micheal Haley’s double-minor for high-sticking led to Linden Vey tying the game at 1-1 late in the first, negating Haley’s marker that opened the scoring. Joe Pavelski’s tripping penalty allowed Vancouver to take a 2-1 lead on Daniel Sedin’s deflection score. Finally, Joonas Donskoi’s tripping minor of Ben Hutton resulted in Dan Hamhuis’ game-winner midway through the third.
When all was said and done, the Sharks spent a total of 12:34 shorthanded. Tough to win a game that way.
“We get that first goal and then we start taking a lot of penalties -– a lot of soft ones, too,” Pavelski said. “It was everybody. It was just one of those nights we couldn’t stay out of the box. We got through a few of them, but not enough of them.”
Pete DeBoer said: “We probably got what we deserved. Their special teams were better than ours, and it’s a missed opportunity because we got a goal from Haley and the fourth line, which was great. Two points were right there for us. Most of the year we’ve been a team that has pounced on those situations, and we didn’t tonight.”
The penalty kill fell to 23rd in the NHL, and is just 28th at home (74.7 percent).
“Little things that you’ve got to clean up, especially this time of the year, and especially some of those things that shouldn’t happen considering where we are in the season,” Paul Martin said.
It was a difficult situation to put James Reimer in, too, as the new backup made his first start with the Sharks after just one full practice with the team on Friday. Reimer denied all 13 attempts he saw at even-strength, but allowed three goals on 12 Vancouver power play shots.
He had no chance on the game-winner. Hamhuis was left wide open, and had all kinds of time to flip home a setup from Bo Horvat.
“They obviously had a good power play, and they worked it well tonight,” Reimer said.
Martin said: “I don’t think we gave [Reimer] our best effort to welcome him to the team. He played great and made the saves he needed to make, and it was up to us to put in some of the goals to help him out, and we didn’t.”
On the other end, Jacob Markstrom made a couple extraordinary stops. Before Brent Burns tied the game at 2-2 in the third, he got a shoulder on Tomas Hertl’s shot and it ricocheted off the cross bar and out of harms way. His best save, and probably one of the best in the NHL so far this season, occurred when he gloved a Patrick Marleau wrister that was destined for the back of the net to keep the score knotted at two.
Hamhuis’ decider came about four minutes later.
“You never know until it goes in, but I thought I had a pretty good shot at getting it in there and he made a desperation save,” Marleau said. “It was a good one.”
Still, DeBoer felt his club could have challenged the goalie a little more. At one point, the Sharks went without a shot on goal for more than 16 minutes late in the first and into second.
“There’s no doubt [Markstrom] was good,” DeBoer said. “You’ve got to find a way to pepper him more than we did. You can’t look at say, ‘well, we had two or three real good looks and he made saves.’ Two or three has to turn into eight or nine. That’s what we didn’t do tonight.”
“He had a couple [saves], but we probably weren’t good enough all night.”