The San Jose Sharks suffered a setback on Wednesday in their quest to get points from a fifth straight game. A 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames was the Sharks’ first regulation loss in more than a week’s time, but still showed how rough things can be for this team when they aren’t scoring goals. For the fourth time in five games, the Sharks failed to convert on any of their chances with the extra attacker.
A 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Mar. 2 showed what a successful power play can do for this team, with Dan Boyle and Joe Pavelski converting with the man-advantage and providing enough offense for the win. Pavelski is the only one of the Sharks’ “big three” forwards to score a power play goal in the past five games, and Joe Thornton’s two assists are the only other power play points among that group. If the Sharks’ power play fortunes are going to change, it needs to start with those three players.
The Sharks also chose to give backup goaltender Thomas Greiss a start on Wednesday, and his performance likely isn’t going to get him more starts anytime soon. Greiss is now 1-3-0 on the season with a 2.79 goals against average. Antti Niemi has been phenomenal for the Sharks this season and will continue to see most of the starts the rest of the season. He gives the Sharks a chance to win every night he starts, and would be an immediate Vezina contender if he only got a little more help from the team’s offense. Greiss is expected to miss Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Blues with a sore neck, leading the Sharks to recall Thomas Heemskerk from the San Francisco Bulls of the ECHL to serve as Niemi’s backup.