His team laid an egg so big that Sharks coach Todd McLellan almost ran out of words trying to explain it. Hoping to end their string of four games without a win, the Sharks instead dropped a 6-2 decision Monday night to a Columbus Blue Jackets team that is perennially among the Western Conference's bottom-dwellers. Not exactly how San Jose wanted to start its season-long, six-game trip. "It's a pretty simple league -- the team that works the hardest wins," a visibly intense McLellan began. His team, he added, was "outworked, out-executed, out-detailed, out-goaltended, out-a lot of things." Even entering the game with an 0-2-2 record in February, the Sharks could take some comfort in the fact they were competitive in each loss. This one was different, and McLellan had no trouble defining that difference. "Well," he began, "this one sucks. It's pretty simple. The others, we were involved in the game, we had every opportunity to win those other games. We got good goaltending, our 'd' moved the puck, our forwards were involved. None of that happened here tonight." It's impossible to pin a loss this bad on one play, but the Sharks pointed to the first Columbus goal a mere 43 seconds into the game as one that set the tone. "We invite them into the game. They're a smart group. They take the invitation and make good on it," McLellan said. The Sharks had their top line on the ice, and the puck was loose to the right of backup netminder Thomas Greiss. It ended up on Dan Boyle's stick, but his attempt to clear it out of danger hit Columbus forward Nick Foligno's skate and went right to Brandon Dubinsky, who banked it off the far post and into the net. "I'm just trying to bat it out," Boyle said. "It was just an unfortunate bounce. The puck's right there -- it's a reaction. I'm trying to put it in the corner, and it goes off a guy's skate right to the other guy."
San Jose Sharks open road trip with 6-2 loss to Columbus Blue Jackets
San Jose Mercury News | Feb 12