By Ivan Makarov
What on paper looked like one of the easiest games of the early season for the San Jose Sharks, turned out to be one of the wildest and disappointing games so far. Playing at home against the last team in the league Buffalo Sabres, Sharks had to come back from behind multiple times to force the overtime, but in the end, they still lost the game 4-3 in the shootout.
“This was a fear of mine that we would be complacent and that we would turn it up when we thought we had to,” said disappointed Sharks head coach Todd McLellan after the game. “And that’s exactly what we got. I thought we were outworked for the large part of the game, and out detailed, certainly.”
Sharks outshot the Sabres 51-36 during the game, but did not look like the better team, chasing the puck, being sloppy on defense and not capitalizing on many rebounds given up by Ryan Miller.
Marty Havlat opened the scoring in the game as he picked up on the rebound from Patrick Marle shot inside the zone following a long possession in the offensive zone and the score remained 1-0 in the first period. But it was in the second period that Sharks lost the lead by allowing Buffalo to score two goals – first one by Drew Stafford who capitalized on the Sharks turnover by Tyler Kennedy inside their own zone, and the second one by Cody McCormick who scored by picking up the puck off the face-off won by his own team inside the Sharks zone, making it 2-1 in favor of the visiting team.
Sharks fell even farther behind at the start of the third period when they were unable to kill a penalty on Dan Boyle’s hooking call. Tyler Ennis scored just 15 second into the power play on a pass from Cody Hodgson as the two of them were standing all alone in front of Antti Niemi.
Sharks climbed back into the game two minutes later when Tyler Kennedy and Tomas Hertl scored two goals within 70 seconds to tie the game at 3-3. But the score did not remain tied for long, as Henrick Tallinder picked up a puck Sharks could not control inside their zone and put it past Antti Niemi, who wasn’t at his best on that play and should have made the save.
Sharks finally tied the game on the first power play goal of the night with less than four minutes remaining in the regulation. With the mad scramble in front of Miller, Tommy Wingels was the first to reach the puck with a dive as it was bouncing in the crease. But that was all the offense the Sharks could produce, and Antti Niemi allowed Matt Moulson and Cody Hodgson to score against him in the shootout, while Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau and Tomas Hertl were unable to do the same against Ryan Miller.
Sharks are now winless in their last three after starting the season with 10 wins in the first 12 games. They take on Vancouver Canucks next at the SAP Center on Thursday.