SJS in New Jersey: Kahkonen: “For us to succeed, everyone has to do their job.”
Despite the hope that we can pick up a few wins after Thursday’s 3-2 overtime win against New York Rangers, San Jose Sharks couldn’t do it in the Garden State, losing 2-1 New Jersey Devils.
Nick Hischier’s first goal for New Jersey was disallowed after the video review called it “clear leg movement“, but the Devils responded with two goals in short order. The first was from Yehor Sharangovich, who took the puck from Marko-Eduar Vlasich and transferred it to the breakaway. The second goal came on the power play when Dawson Mercer made his own rebound in front of Kahkanen, breaking the Sharks’ unblemished record for penalty kicks. Kevin Labanc scored the only goal in the return with a sniper shot through the crease. Although Akul had one flurry of shot attempts in the final 18 seconds of the game, the effort came too late, resulting in the sixth loss of the season.
After the loss, head coach David Quinn, goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen and winger Kevin Labanc took to the microphone to address the high-danger moments, sorting through the second period and moving on to face-off against the team Philadelphia Flyers.
Here’s what they said:
About Gertl and Meyer: When you talk to them, they are frustrated. Sometimes when scorers don’t get rewards or points, they get consumed by it. This is something they will have to work through. They are great players and we will need them moving forward. Obviously they’re frustrated from an offensive standpoint, they just didn’t get the results they were looking for or we’re looking for.
You want to impact the game so badly, you want to help your team so badly, sometimes you force things.
About Kahkonen: Very good. He played really well, made some huge saves, especially in the second period when we were sloppy and they had moments. He gave us a chance.
About the second period of trouble: There is definitely something in the second period [laughter]. Something was a problem and we will continue to work on it.
When rejecting high risk odds: We didn’t give up those chances after the Carolina game. If you’re turning the puck over like we did, you’re not set up to attack and you’re going to get burned. That’s how it turned out. If you flip like that, that’s where the odds come from. This was the essence of our problem with the defensive structure.
Going through the rest of the game: We have to play with such urgency [like the last four minutes]. I hate to use the word desperation — you don’t want to play desperation hockey, you want to play urgent hockey. We just waited too long.
About Labank: He knows what he has to do and he did it tonight — he played with a little bit of an edge. He needs to be someone who impacts the game when he’s not scoring goals. I think he had a good night.
About the message of the coaching staff: We kind of gave up two points – we had a good fifteen, then in the second period we kind of let the game go, but we still hung on. We just didn’t create as many chances as we would have liked. But with that game behind us, we have to prepare for Philly and make sure everyone is ready. These are the two points with which we can end this trip.
I had some good back checks, blocked a shot there in the third. I just tried to chase the puck, be more persistent. I think I did that, but it obviously wasn’t enough. It’s just the mindset of being ready to do it consistently every game.
About your goal: It was the eye game that Lindy wanted. I’m not sure who – I think it was Harrington or Simmer – kind of split on the boards and got it for the D and skated and let it go. It was nice to get it.
In the back half of the game: It wasn’t the Devils [making it hard], it was more us. We didn’t forecheck enough, we didn’t hit enough, we didn’t have good clubs. You do the little things right, they will increase your chances of attacking in the other direction. We’re going to go one or two shifts and then you won’t see offensive production for three or four, so we just need it to be consistent across all four lines. You know, that’s no excuse, we have to be ready from the start. Tomorrow in Philly, we just have to be careful with our bodies, rest and be ready.
About his game: I think it was pretty good. They tried a little bit in the second and we weathered the storm a little bit, got out of it, and that’s what you have to do sometimes. You have to give yourself a chance to go out in the third and try to tie the score. In the end we put in a good effort but couldn’t get it going.
About moving forward: In the end, it’s the points that matter. It doesn’t matter if someone gets a hat-trick and you lose the game, or someone plays well in defence, everyone has to do their job for us to be successful and that’s obviously what everyone is trying to do.
*Lightly edited for clarity.