SAN JOSE – The legs were there, but the heads were not in the Sharks’ 6-5 overtime loss to the Panthers on Wednesday at SAP Center. Here’s what we’re taking away from the game…
1 – Pavelski has a game
It came in a loss, but Wednesday’s game might have been Joe Pavelski’s best of the season. The captain had four points, including those two late goals, four shots, 10 shot attempts and a plus-two rating. He drew a penalty shot, too, that he didn’t convert on in the second period.
Pete DeBoer mentioned after the game that he thought Pavelski was “the best player on the ice.”
It’s worth noting because Pavelski’s line featured a new player on the left wing in Kevin Labanc, who played most of the New Jersey game there on Sunday, and was starting in that spot for the first time since Nov. 19. There’s probably nothing DeBoer would like better than to see a winger finally lock down that spot on the top line, so Wednesday’s game was another step in the right direction there.
Pavelski has now reached 20 goals in each of the last eight full seasons (he had 16 in the 48-game season in 2013). Oddly, both of his four-point games this season have come in losses (Oct. 17 at the Rangers).
2 – Power play slumping again
After showing signs of coming out of its season-long slump about a week ago, the power play was miserable against Florida, going 0-for-3 and generating just four shots in nearly six minutes. They went 0-for-2 in the second period when they were dominating the game, and then got just one shot on a third period advantage – a slap shot from 54 feet out by Logan Couture – with a chance to take the lead in a 3-3 game.
“Obviously, we could have used a power play goal. The power play has struggled,” Couture said.
The Sharks sit 22nd in the league in the power play at 16.8 percent. The only team in postseason position with a lower percentage is Ottawa (24th, 16.4 percent).
3 – Looking ahead to the bye week?
We discussed the Sharks’ mental errors in last night’s recap, and it’s fair to wonder if that’s partly due to the bye week starting after the two weekend games coming up against Arizona and Boston.
One player in particular that looks like he needs a rest is Martin Jones. The goalie made his 49th start in 58 games last night, and his save percentage is down to .882 for the month of February. Although he was hung out to dry a couple times, Jones took some blame for the loss.
“Obviously, we want to be tighter [defensively], but sometimes you need a big save from your goalie. I just couldn’t make the big one tonight," Jones said.
Does he feel like he needs a break?
“A break’s going to be nice, for sure,” he said. “Anybody in the league will tell you a break’s going to be good. I mean, I’ve been healthy, so yeah, I’m fine.”