The Sharks put up a good fight in a 4-3 overtime loss to the NHL-leading Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. But even after picking up a point, San Jose isn't happy with where its game is at right now.
"We got a point, but by no means should we be satisfied with tonight's game," defenseman Erik Karlsson told reporters at KeyBank Arena. "We need to find ways to win games and right now we're not doing that. We've got to figure that out."
The Sharks are still trying to find consistency. Whether it's getting more out of all four forward lines or cleaning up costly mistakes, San Jose is trying to put all the pieces together nine games into the season.
"We're getting a little bit better, [but] we're still not where we want to be," coach Peter DeBoer said. "But at least we're showing some signs of competing against really good teams here."
The Sharks were better Tuesday after losing to the Sabres at home on Saturday, rebounding from a dicey first minute of play on the road by going up 2-0 before the first period expired. However, Buffalo was able to rally back thanks to a couple of power-play opportunities and an offensive jolt from captain Jack Eichel, who ended the night with two goals and two assists.
While the Sharks' penalty kill usually is sturdy, mistakes cost San Jose on Tuesday.
"When you go on the road, you can't beat yourself," DeBoer said. "And you beat yourself with penalties, turnovers, specialties... We've got to be better in all of those areas."
The coach did, however, compliment his team's resiliency late in Tuesday's loss.
After Jeff Skinner gave the Sabres their first lead just 45 seconds into the third period, the Sharks got a visible jolt and took over the rest of regulation. Buffalo gained momentum in the second period, but San Jose took it back and outshot the Sabres 13-4 as Karlsson forced overtime with his game-tying goal.
"I liked our response," DeBoer said. "I think it would have been easy at that point, early in the third when they scored again, to pack it in. And we didn't. I thought we pressed hard and had some chances to win it late."
Those chances to win Tuesday didn't come to fruition, however, and the Sharks will continue on their five-game roadie Thursday in Montreal with just one point in the bank.
Whether the Sharks need to take fewer penalties or simply do a better job of not beating themselves, they have areas to work on if they're going to turn their season around. Until that happens, they probably aren't going to be happy with their full 60-minute effort.
"It's small things out there that win you games," Karlsson said. "We're on the wrong side of most of them, and that's something that we have to figure out. That's a learning curve that as individual players and as a team we've got to figure out this year."