April 16, 2011RATTO ARCHIVESHARKS PAGE SHARKS VIDEO
When Dan Boyle, who is the Sharks designated scold at times like this, cant muster up sufficient bile to excoriate himself and his teammates for an effort like Saturdays somethings clearly gone off the rails.He is the Sharks disgust-o-meter, and yet the best he could emit after the teams 4-0 face-washing at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings was a tepid, We werent very good at all. We were terrible.Well, they were, of course. To have the Kings down two of their best centermen, keep a full complement of defensemen for all 60 minutes and turn what should have been on paper a 5-1 win into a 4-0 defeat that takes a level of non-competition and non-commitment that one normally finds in your run-of-the-mill Islander, Oiler or Panther.
It was a missed opportunity, no question, he said. We had a chance to go up 2-0, they were missing two of their better guys (the injured Anze Kopitar and the suspended Jarret Stoll), but we came out and we didnt do many things well out there at all.Oh, it was worse than that. They also contributed three ill-advised first period penalties so that they could expose their low-level penalty kill to more national ridicule. They let the Los Angeles defensemen own the evening, from the nonpareil Drew Doughty and his two-goal, two-assist night to Jack Johnson and his one-and-one, to Rob Scuderi and Willie Mitchell essentially eating the lunches of first-liners Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Devin Setoguchi, among others.This was a 4-0 defeat on the merits. The Kings dominated down low at both ends of the ice, and even thrived with Trevor Lewis replacing Stoll and centering the Kings most effective line, with Ryan Smyth and Justin Williams. The defense dominated so well that the forwards could own their cycling space without fear of contradiction from the home team. Goalie Jonathan Quick had 34 saves, but wasnt spectacular by any means. He was just very good the entire night. The rebounds he allowed were whisked away by his diligent defenders, and the saves he did make were not goal-robbing ones.This was, in short, exactly the game from Los Angeles that the Sharks should have given, and for some perverse reason, didnt. Were a better team, a more competitive team than we showed tonight, head coach Todd McLellan grumped. If we dont come out tomorrow and have a sense of shame and anger lingering over us . . . Id be very disappointed.Clearly, he wants the team to loathe itself for an evening, but whether they do or not is always an open question. After all, it takes an entire roster to make a game this lopsided, and the Sharks gave their anti-all to do so.Statistics dont often tell the tale in hockey, and the faceoff numbers (Sharks, 42-28) are a particularly egregious lie. But the giveaways, 19-6 for the Sharks, at home, where the giveaway stats tend to be generous toward the team who works there every day, is exceptionally scandalous a measure of how few puck battles they won along the wall and in front of the net, how many passes they were pressured into spoiling, and how much space they ceded to the more aggressive Kings.And theres one more thing, and it is a familiar mantra in these parts. The Kings best players, Doughty and Johnson, were so not only in reputation but in deed, while the Sharks best players were at best invisible.Thats the important part of it, Kings coach Terry Murray said. When you need something big to happen like we did tonight, your key guys have to step up, and ours did. They held nothing back. Doughty and Johnson, the way we cycled the puck with Smyth and his line, they were all exceptional.That is the standard impression when your team has four and the other has nought, and in truth, 4-0 may have been only a modest impression of the difference between the two teams Saturday.The two teams now have two days to become complacent, morose, angry or more determined. The Kings got to show Saturday that no matter how many centers they have, they still have all the defensemen any good team could ever need, and the Sharks got to show that they still are capable of stinking out the joint every now and then.The good thing is, we know how to come back, McLellan said. We lost to Chicago, 6-2, we got beaten pretty good by Anaheim, and we came back and followed those games with good performances.So now, all they have to do is show they still have that gift. Or, in the alternative, can appeal that Stoll suspension to see if they can get it carried over to Game 3, since it clearly didnt help them in Game 2.