Alright, well, let's start with all of the positives from tonight:
- Erik Johnson returned from a knee injury that had most of us holding our breath for four days. Even better, he didn't show one sign of being less than 100% ready to play.
- David Backes' penalty shot, possibly the least creative PS I have seen since I watched my kid's Learn To Play class, had about 15% more power on it than Antero Nittymaki was prepared for and it somehow eeked into the net.
Now for the negatives:
- Jaroslav Halak was not perfect. The one he really wanted back was the weird, unobstructed shot from the high half-wall by Marc-Eduard Vlasic that sailed right in. Not only was it a softie, it was the backbreaker.
- Brad Boyes continues to frustrate. he's a self-admitted head case when it comes to his confidence, but jeebus, son. You got to the NHL on skill. You were a first round draft pick. You've scored 43 goals in a season before. No one really expects to to backcheck that hard. Shoot the puck every time it's on your stick in the offensive zone and hit the 4-by-6. No one is going to think you're selfish: You're the trigger man on your line. Plus, if you hit the target rather than missing high only good things will happen. You can score, you can cause a rebound or you can get an offensive zone faceoff. That's it and you know it. Time to be a shooter.
- The guys on the radio were pretty hard on the forwards tonight, but I liked the effort of guys like Sobotka and Steen and McClement and even Backes tonight. Lots of the other guys were fairly invisible, but I thought that group of four worked hard. That said, four non-stars working hard isn't enough to beat a talented team like the Sharks. As Herb Brooks would say, "You don't have enough talent to win on talent alone." It might truly be months before this lineup gets any kind of talent infusion (aside from Pietrangelo hopefully), so they need to learn how to outwork talented teams on every shift or they'll be at the bottom of the conference come February.
It isn't about to get any easier: Vancouver on Monday and the Red Wings on Thursday. Time to wake up and play like those guys are Los Angeles.