SAN JOSE – There’s no escaping the video camera.
In order to effectively portray his team’s putrid start on Saturday night against Calgary, Sharks coach Todd McLellan apparently wheeled the big screen into the middle of the dressing room after his team was outscored 2-0 in the first period and looked dazed in the process.
“I think that humbled a few people and made them aware of what was really going on between periods,” McLellan said shortly after a 4-3 overtime loss to the Flames.
“Sometimes it’s better to see it onscreen than to just tell somebody,” Patrick Marleau said.
That tactic, along with a shuffling of the Sharks’ forward lines, seemed to have the desired effect as San Jose stormed back to take a 3-2 lead. It didn’t last, though, and the Flames’ Sean Monahan scored in overtime in what was a gigantic victory for Calgary, which is in the mix with the Sharks and others in the Pacific Division.
While the ending was upsetting, it was the start that was most discouraging.
McLellan said: “We got what we deserved. We’re probably fortunate we got that. The start was unacceptable, to a man. There are nights where we don’t execute or we’re a little bit sloppy, but sometimes it’s only half the team. Tonight, it was a full team.”
“Just a poor first 20 minutes,” Tommy Wingels said. “You dig yourself a hole and you get frustrated, and we weren’t able to find a way out of it completely. We changed the lines going into the second which created some momentum and some goals for us, but we’ll look back at this and it was the first period that caused the loss tonight.”
It took just 40 seconds for the Flames to jump out to a lead, when Dennis Wideman had all kinds of room to operate at the point and ripped one through traffic. The second goal came when Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski couldn’t connect on a pass in the defensive zone, and Joe Colborne scored a shorthanded marker.
The Flames registered 11 shots on goal, including a T.J. Brodie breakaway that Antti Niemi denied, to just four by San Jose in the first period.
But the tide turned in the second, with Logan Couture’s marker just 12 seconds in getting the home team going. Joe Thornton and Melker Karlsson had goals of their own over the next several minutes.
“We didn’t play well in the first and we wanted to start better in the second,” Couture said. “We scored on the first shift and it doesn’t get any better than that, and we followed it up with a good second period.”
Pavelski, who found himself again on a line with Thornton to start the second and had two assists, said: “Guys woke up and played better. The lines went back, and we were just a much harder team from there.”
The Flames managed to tie it before the intermission, and the game tightened up in the third, as both teams likely realized the value of at least getting a point out of the matchup. Still, the Sharks nearly won it on a couple of great chances by Marleau, including a breakaway midway through the final frame.
"He made a good save on the breakaway. I probably should have shot it, but hindsight is 20-20,” said Marleau, who also got free in the slot with less than two minutes to go, but couldn’t get his attempt through to the goaltender.
Had Marleau squeezed one of them past young Joni Ortio, the postgame tone might have been a bit different. Instead, the division standings got a little more tightly packed, thanks mainly to the early miscues in the defensive zone.
“If you want to be successful in this league, you’ve got to defend well,” Couture said. “Good defense leads to offense. We know that in this room. We’ve just got to be better.”