Sure, there was frustration after the Sharks gave up a one-goal lead to the New York Rangers late in Thursday night’s game, and lost 3-2 in overtime. But equally frustrating for San Jose is racking up so many shots – and having just two goals to show for it.
Team Teal registered a staggering 43 shots on goal against Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers, almost matching the 48 shots on goal they posted against Brian Elliott and the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night. In Tuesday’s contest, the Sharks were rewarded with eight goals for their offensive efforts. On Thursday at Madison Square Garden, they scored just twice.
It’s become a trend in the handful of games San Jose has played thus far. The Sharks are out-shooting their opponents and getting good looks. But not as many of those looks are finding the back of the net as the team would like.
“We generated a lot of chances throughout the night,” Sharks captain Joe Pavelski pointed out after the loss to New York on Thursday. Teammate Joonas Donskoi agreed, saying it felt as though San Jose had “enough scoring chances to win the game.”
Sharks coach Peter DeBoer echoed the same sentiment when he spoke to the media.
“I thought we created a lot,” he said. “We’re eventually going to score. We did the other night in Philly. That dam will burst.”
There are a couple factors in play when discussing why San Jose’s offense is creating these chances and not scoring. The lack of scoring on the power play is one of those we’ve discussed quite a bit. Simple “puck luck” is another one that comes to mind.
But one very evident factor is that the Sharks have gone up against a few hot goaltenders in their first five games. Thursday night was certainly a glowing example, as Lundqvist was in vintage form halting San Jose’s offense. On opening night, Sharks were stymied by John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks, and Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner shut out San Jose on Monday.
“We’ve hit a couple grade-A goaltending performances,” DeBoer said. “Gibson, (Lundqvist) tonight, in our first five games. That’s going to happen.”
Nevertheless, the Sharks remain confident they’ll break through and find the back of the net much more frequently. It just comes down to capitalizing on more of those opportunities.
“It felt like we had the puck a lot. It felt like we had a lot of [grade-A chances],” Pavelski said. “We’ve just got to stick some in the net.”