The Sharks essentially played two games on Thursday night.
The first took place within the first period of play against the visiting Wild, as San Jose dominated Minnesota and skated into the intermission with a convincing 4-0 lead. But the second was a complete 180-degree turn that took place over the next two periods, in which the Sharks nearly lost control of the game.
The Sharks held on to win, 6-5. But even with two straight victories, this team is aware that their early-season woes aren't completely in the rearview mirror. The ability to play a dominant 60-minute game is still a work in progress.
"I think anyone who was a part of or watched that game [knows] there's a lot of work to be done," Logan Couture said to reporters following the win.
Tomas Hertl agreed. "If we start like that, we have to play a whole 60 minutes," he added, "and don't even give them a chance to score. Just play the right way. We need it right now, every point."
Keep in mind, these comments are coming from a captain who tallied four points on the evening and an alternate captain who notched three. They're not tooting their horns after that close call of a contest. They want to be much, much better.
And Hertl is correct. If the Sharks are going to start a game with a 4-0 lead, they can't spend the next 40 minutes getting outscored 5-2. For that to happen, a team has to do a lot of things wrong after such a stellar beginning.
Couture could list all of them. "We didn't forecheck. We didn't sustain time in their end. Kind of got back to what we were doing at the start [of the season] where it seemed like we were waiting for a power play to get chances and score goals. And it did luckily, those two power-play goals at the end of the second. But just no o-zone time and just sloppy, sloppy play."
While the Sharks did get those two power-play markers in the second stanza, they also took four penalties. For a team that is battling to establish a better even-strength game, San Jose is still spending too much time in the box.
Who knows what got into the Sharks between the first and second periods. But they absolutely let their tally on the scoreboard dictate how they started the next frame -- and it resulted in Minnesota making a push.
"Sometimes, when you score four, you think everything will be easy," Hertl admitted. "But we still have to look at some details. Why they're scoring so easily after that."
Now, obviously, San Jose will take the two points and improve to 2-2-0 on the current six-game homestand. As Hertl said, the Sharks need every point they can get in order to dig out of the deep hole they put themselves in at the start of the season.
But if you're one of those fans that was cringing at the end of Thursday's game, you aren't alone. The Sharks will take the victory, but they still have to work on playing that full 60-minute game.
"We found a way to win this game," Timo Meier said. "But it wasn't pretty at the end."