For reasons unknown, the Sharks just cannot seem to win games at home.
Sporting an NHL-worst 5-10 home record coming into the game, the ugly trend continued on Saturday night with a 4-1 loss to the Jets at SAP Center.
A scoreless third period with few scoring chances capped off by an empty net goal by the Jets (18-18-2) sealed another home defeat, one that once again featured an opponent taking control early and maintaining the lead throughout.
Head coach Pete DeBoer was not happy with his team’s performance:
“That was an egg. I don’t have an explanation. Top to bottom, really poor effort, poor execution, sloppy, soft. Not enough adjectives to describe it.”
Winnipeg extended its lead to 2-0 early in the second period. Joel Armia skated around Marc-Edouard Vlasic and attacked the net, and his little backhand flip found its way past Jones to double up the Jets’ advantage.
Jones lamented the Sharks’ poor starts, especially at home:
“It’s tough to come back in this league, spotting teams a couple of goals right off the bat. We just need to find a way to come out with a little bit more jump, for sure.”
The Sharks answered midway through the period on the power play when Joe Thornton found Brent Burns at the point with a cross-ice feed, and Burns pounded a hard slap shot into the net to put the Sharks on the board.
But the Jets retook a two-goal lead with a power play goal of their own. A patient Mathieu Perreault held onto the puck at the right point before wristing one just under the left crossbar and in to put the Jets ahead 3-1.
The Jets got on the board with a shorthanded goal in the first period. On the power play breakout, Joel Ward turned the puck over in his own zone to Blake Wheeler, leading to a 2-on-0 break for the Jets. Drew Stafford scored on an empty net to put Winnipeg up 1-0; it was just the second shorthanded goal the Sharks had given up all season.
Ward took responsibility for the turnover:
“I let the squad down early with a giveaway. It gave them some life at the start. It just seemed like we couldn’t get the ball rolling after that.”
Shots were 8-7 in favor of the Sharks in a first period that didn’t have a whole lot of action. The Sharks threatened late in the period on a chance from in close by Patrick Marleau after Logan Couture drove the net, but Jets’ goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made the glove save.
Joe Pavelski talked about the team being out hustled:
“We got outbattled tonight. It all came down to losing too many battles, especially in our own zone or on the walls where you get a little speed going. We didn’t do a good job there.”
A frustrated DeBoer, whose team sits in fourth in the Pacific Division, concurred:
“We’re in no position to play a game like that. We have a big standings board in our room. We know where we’re at. Unacceptable, and we’ve got to get it fixed.”
The Sharks were coming off a rare home win over the Flyers on Wednesday. The Jets entered the night on a six-game losing streak away from home and are in the midst of a five-game road trip.
San Jose has four days off before playing Detroit next Thursday at home.