The Toronto Maple Leafs were playing on two nights of rest. The Sharks were playing on zero.
As Logan Couture explained, that's just the way the schedule goes sometimes. And if you're the team playing its second night in a row, it can be tough to get the offense going.
"You're going to have nights like tonight where you're not feeling it and you're not getting much offensively," the captain said after Friday night's 4-1 loss to the Leafs. "We were close to pulling out a point there. It's tough we couldn't get one."
But after a nice win over the Habs on Thursday night, Team Teal had the opportunity to not only get a streak going with a second straight win but to pull within .500 on the season after a rough start. They battled hard against the Leafs but then lost control of the game late, missing the opportunity to break even 11 games into the campaign.
That, for the Sharks, is an overall disappointment.
"We talked about it a little bit before the game, 'Let's get this thing going in the right direction,'" Couture said of the team getting closer to having a winning record. "Whenever you win one and get two points you want to keep the streak going. It's disappointing when you don't."
The Sharks are trying their darnedest to get out of the Pacific Division cellar, currently sitting just one point ahead of the last-place LA Kings. And to be fair, in both of their losses through the first three games of this five-game road trip, they've battled hard to get into the win column and start a more steady climb up the standings.
But there are certain problems the Sharks are still having trouble finding the remedy for, and those are costing them late in games.
The biggest offender as of late has been the regular trips to the sin bin. While San Jose's penalty kill remains the best in the league, being on the PK too often can take the team out of their rhythm. So when the Sharks who were already tired from playing on the back-to-back trips to the box in the second stanza, it visibly took the wind out of their sails.
Add to it they were short-handed five times over the course of Friday's game, and it's easy to see how Toronto was able to mount an attack late in the game.
"It's tough when you're on a back-to-back and you take something like six minors," Couture summarized. "You're short five or six times and it makes it a little more difficult."
This isn't to say that it's too late for the Sharks to make a leap up the standings -- or that they don't have aspects of their game that they're happy with, for that matter. On top of having an elite penalty kill, their goaltending has been outstanding and their power play looks the best it has in a couple of seasons. If they can get their five-on-five game to generate more chances, there's no reason to think the Sharks can't right the ship for multiple games in a row.
Nevertheless, not getting those points after fighting hard through the tough stretch of a road trip is still a bummer.
"We knew this trip was going to be difficult with this back-to-back and three (games) in four (nights)," Couture admitted. "I thought we had the opportunity to get six points, or at least five, and it's disappointing to not get at least one tonight."