There’s no defending how poorly the San Jose Sharks have played on their first road trip of 2022. On Tuesday, they lost again to the Detroit Red Wings 6-2. This loss was worse than their Jan. 2-loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. San Jose played a good game against the Flyers and rallied to win 8-5. There were some positive points against the Flyers. Detroit was not so bright.
The Red Wings didn’t just win, they scored twice on a five-minute penalty kill and owned the Sharks after the first period. The Sharks had a fantastic opportunity, but everything turned bad.
It’s rare that a great opportunity quickly turns into a disaster. Detroit scored twice on a major penalty save in the second period due to Sharks mistakes. In 100 games, the Red Wings have not scored a shorthanded goal and have had 285 consecutive penalty kills.
With 1:44 remaining in the first period, the Sharks moved on to the power play after Givanni Smith, Detroit forward, hit Jake Middleton with a slap. Middleton and Smith exchanged punches in the first period. The hit from behind was clearly a cheap shot Middleton didn’t see coming. Middleton’s head hit the glass, and he did not finish the game. Smith was handed a major penalty for boarding and was also given game misconduct.
The Sharks were trailing 1-0 and did not use the power play until the end of the first period. However, they were able to take advantage of the intermission to regroup. However, they came out lethargic and didn’t really pressure the Red Wings, who were scrappy and fought for the puck. Their hard work paid off when Sharks defenceman Brent Burns handed the puck to Pius Sutter in the Detroit zone. Sutter raced away and scored the unassisted goal against Sharks goalie James Reimer.
Related: 4 Takeaways From the Sharks’ 8-5 Loss in Pittsburgh
Tyler Bertuzzi, forward for the Red Wings, scored another goal after another turnover. The Red Wings were up 3-0 in the second period at 2:41. San Jose responded quickly with Jasper Weatherby’s goal, but the Red Wings held the game.
Most concerning was the fact that the Sharks appeared disorganized going into the final period. They should have come out flying, given the time they had in the power-play and being trailed by a goal. San Jose was instead flat and careless with the puck. Tomas Hertl, Sharks forward, put it best “We entered the second period With four minutes remaining on the power play, we expected to shift the momentum in our favor and then gave up two goals. That’s embarrassing.”
Reimer rocks again
The loss wasn’t Reimer’s fault. He had little chance against Sutter’s shorthanded goal and the Sharks’ defense wasn’t very good. But there’s reason for concern after Reimer seemed to have established himself as the unquestioned No. Just a few short weeks ago, Reimer seemed to have established himself as the unquestioned No.1 goaltender. He doesn’t look the same goalie he did four games ago when he had an average of 1.99 goals against, so the team can be optimistic that this is not a slump.
Reimer did not play in the final game of the series. He allowed four goals on 24 shots in two periods and was replaced in the third by Adin Hill, who returned from COVID-19 protocol and a brief trip to the Barracuda of the AHL for conditioning – Reimer was also replaced after giving up six goals in a period against Philadelphia. Hill wasn’t great either, giving up two goals on seven shots. Reimer is still San Jose’s best option in the crease, but the last few games must be making management nervous.
Embattled Blue Line
Middleton was capable of getting up and leaving the ice on his feet, which is a good sign for a defense that is struggling to keep its together. Mario Ferraro, who is currently on the COVID protocol listing, is already out of action for the Sharks. Jaycob Megna was activated, and paired up with Burns against Detroit. Middleton’s status is still unknown, but the team will need to dip into their minor league roster if Middleton misses any games. Logan Couture, Lane Pederson and forwards have been added. To the COVID List
We hope that they return quickly, and Middleton will be fine. The Sharks have scored 28 goals in five of their last five games. They could use some positive news.
Scott Linesburgh is a sports journalist for over 35 years. He has also spent over 15 years as a professional hockey beat writer. His coverage of major sporting events includes the Super Bowl, Indianapolis 500 and other big ones. Scott, a Long Island native and Islander fan, covers the San Jose Sharks in THW. He is always open to hearing more than the box scores.