Anyone expecting the San Jose Sharks to look sleepy with their Monday matinee game starting at 10 a.m. PT were in for a treat. Team Teal played their best hockey of the young season against the New York Islanders, and arguably were the better team for a little over two periods of play at Barclays Center.
Which made it even more frustrating when they couldn't find the back of the net, being shut out by Robin Lehner and the Isles 4-0.
San Jose put Lehner to work early in the game, but the goaltender led the Isles' charge by keeping the Sharks off the scoreboard through two frames. Sharks goalie Martin Jones, for his part, had the answers to the Mathew Barzal-led New York offense. Unfortunately, the Isles' fourth line found a way to upset San Jose's defensive efforts late in the game, drawing penalties and contributing two of New York's four goals.
Here are three takeaways from Monday's game ...
The offensive depth is there … it just can't convert
Sharks coach Peter DeBoer shuffled his lines in the third period in an effort to get the team on the scoreboard. While it didn't result in any goals, it's clear DeBoer can put his lines in the blender and still have a tough-looking forward attack.
There were questions regarding San Jose's offensive performance heading into Monday's game, since the lines were shuffled following the Joe Thornton injury news. But the offense -- particularly the Joe Pavelski-led top line -- clearly was firing on all cylinders.
Pavelski thrived Monday after being moved to center the top line with Timo Meier and Melker Karlsson on his wings for the better part of the game. Meier, who has been a standout through three games, began developing chemistry with the captain during preseason. That chemistry was on full display when Pavelski fed Meier a nice pass for a good look a few minutes into the opening frame.
The power play finally is turning around
Perhaps the most frustrating part for the Sharks about New York opening up scoring with a power-play goal was how dominant San Jose looked on the man advantage -- but the team couldn't find the back of the net. Before the Sharks went on that kill with Evander Kane in the box for slashing Cal Clutterbuck, they had three man-advantage opportunities that looked very dangerous.
The newly formed top power-play unit consisting of Pavelski, Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns was on the ice for over a minute in their third attempt. Considering how mightily the special teams struggled ahead of the regular season, the current look of the power play has to give the Sharks some added confidence.
The team needs to sustain pressure when down late
In Friday night's game against the L.A. Kings, the Sharks pushed through a full 60 minutes. And while they maintained great sustained pressure into the start of the third frame Monday, they lost some steam after Scott Mayfield scored New York's second goal on the day. They'll need to find a way to maintain that pressure for a full tilt as their road trip continues Tuesday in Philadelphia.