The San Jose Sharks fell to a .500 record with yet another loss to a great team. My opinion is that it didn’t have to be this way but when you refuse to ice your best lineup against the best offensive team in the west this is the kind of stuff that is going to happen. It’s time for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
As frustrating as it is to see the San Jose Sharks lose yet another game it wasn’t all bad. The Sharks special teams finally found some life in the absence of Logan Couture on the power play with goals from Joe Pavelski and Joel Ward. I won’t lie I was kind of skeptical of the idea of Ward on the top power play unit but once again he has come though showing just how important it is to have a guy like Ward in the lineup. The sharks power play would finish 2/4 on the night. Dallas has one of the best penalty kill’s in the league and aside from a late empty net goal that sealed the game by Tyler Seguin the penalty kill was perfect. So while it sucks to lose there was a lot to like about this game and I might even argue that the Sharks may have deserved a better fate. Matt Nieto‘s short handed goal was also a thing of beauty.
Those who have followed me as for a while now no I hate talking about officiating for a few reasons. First because I hate to encourage the tin foil hat wearing portion of our fan base and second because all teams are victimized by bad calls. The difference between the Sharks and other teams is how they respond to bad calls. Normally we fold up like a cheep suit but not tonight even though there was some pretty questionable calls during this game and more importantly a lot of obvious calls that were not made. The Sharks handled it well enough but I thought the Stars got a away with a ton of stuff behind the scenes and it didn’t help anything. While it was close the Sharks had some trouble in the face off circle too especially on draws that mattered. The Stars let the Sharks back in the game and its frustrating that the Sharks could not take advantage of that. Ben Smith has had a really rough start this season with many people previously advocating for him to be in the lineup to start the year are not begging for the Sharks to keep him out. He didn’t see the ice after the Stars scored their 3rd goal of the game.
Now I can understand some of the reasoning of starting Alex Stalock over Martin Jones, a decent record against the Stars, a face off with Antti Niemi. The problem I have is that these Stars a much better than they have been in the past and we have the lowly Colorado Avalanche tomorrow. Jones should have started this game, the Dallas Stars are the best offensive team in the west and the Sharks really need to get consistently back in the win column. You want to beat a team like this you need to ice your best possible line up and that isn’t with Stalock. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not blaming this loss on Stalock, he played well enough maybe even to win the game. I think he could use a confidence boost and being thrown to the wolves against the New York Islanders and Dallas Stars leaving Jones to play the New Jersey Devils and Colorado Avalanche is not the way to do it. In the small sample size of two games Stalock is now 0-2-0 with a 4.54 GAA and a .842 SV%, its bad and having him in net against the Avalanche may have made this a different story.
Now if it was just this one off decision I’d probably not even bring it up but a lot of the lineup choices made my Peter DeBoer with possible input from Doug Wilson are starting to weaken my faith. This is the second time I felt that Stalock got the wrong start but going outside the goal crease you have them playing a game on how bad can they make the fourth line. Now I understand that a guy like Nikolay Goldobin isn’t ready for NHL regular action yet but the over use of guys like Bryan Lerg, Michael Haley and John McCarthy and sending our bottom six depth to the top lines instead of keeping the even distribution of talent that worked previously. I thought Goldobin was fine on the top line as Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski could hide is inadequacies defencively. Finally it’s been suggested that Jones would start tomorrow to secure an easy two points. First if we need our starter to secure points against the Avalanche than blow this team up, it’s a lost cause. Second if you are not convinced that Stalock can get you wins against the bottom barrel of the league than its time to put him on waivers and call up Troy Grosenick.
For more post game thought’s don’t forget to check out the replay of Pucknology After Dark.