The Sharks knew they had a tough task at hand facing off against the red-hot Bruins on Tuesday to close out their road trip. But having that knowledge ahead of time didn't do them much good.
San Jose followed up a loss to one of the worst teams in the league on Sunday with a loss to one of the best teams in the league on Tuesday. With fists flying and the trips to the penalty box adding up, the Sharks ended their five-game roadie by falling 5-1 to Boston.
Here are three takeaways from Tuesday's defeat.
Too many penalties to kill
One of the Sharks' main issues in the early portion of the season has been that they're taking too many penalties, even though their penalty kill has been one of the best in the league. The Bruins took advantage of that Tuesday by scoring two power-play goals in the first period and generating enough offense off of a second-period man-advantage to find the back of the net a third time.
It doesn't help matters that spending so much time down a skater is completely sucking the life out of the Sharks' struggling five-on-five game. Even though they strung some good shifts together after Brent Burns' power-play marker, all of that energy was zapped when Tomas Hertl was sent to the box for tripping.
That was just one of 15 total penalties San Jose took on the evening.
Long story short: Regardless of how the Sharks' penalty-kill unit is performing, this team needs to play a cleaner, smarter game.
Second-period struggles continue
Perhaps it has something to do with taking too many penalties early in the game and being gassed by the second period, but the Sharks are giving up way too much in the second 20 minutes of play. They entered Tuesday's game getting outscored by opponents 30-17 in the second and third periods of games, and the Bruins added to that with three goals of their own.
Of course, in a perfect world, San Jose would play a full 60 minutes and not have a typical time of a game when they let off the gas. But right now, that second frame really seems to be hurting them.
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If "adversity builds character" as Peter DeBoer says ...
... then the Sharks have their work cut out for them. The first glimpse of San Jose's response to adversity was their physicality in the third period of Tuesday's game. But if the Sharks are going to turn things around, that fire needs to carry over into more games.
San Jose collected just three points out of a possible ten on the five-game road trip and ended their swing through the East Coast having given up 10 goals in two games. The aspects of the Sharks' game that appeared to be coming together last week in the win over the Canadiens have been absent in two straight contests.
If there was ever a time to let that character fuel a turnaround, it's right now.