The head coaches for the Ottawa Senators and San Jose Sharks are running out of patience.
Both are demanding better efforts from their teams heading into their first meeting in nearly a year on Monday night in San Jose, Calif.
The Senators concluded their three-game homestand with a 5-1 loss to the red-hot New Jersey Devils on Saturday, falling to 2-8-1 in their past 11 games.
Their four-game West Coast trip against the Sharks, Vegas Golden Knights, Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings could mark a key point of the season for the Senators, coach D.J. Smith said.
“It’s huge for our season,” he said. “We’ve got four good teams out West to get ourselves together, and you’re going to have to be good on the road. … We’ll give them everything we’ve got.”
The Sharks haven’t taken advantage on their home ice, going 1-7-3 at SAP Center.
San Jose coach David Quinn said the latest defeat, a 2-1 loss against the visiting New York Rangers on Saturday night, was a major step back.
“We stunk,” he said. “It hasn’t happened in a long time, so let’s see how we respond on Monday.”
Quinn mainly criticized his team’s effort against the Rangers.
“One of the reasons they looked as fast as they did is we didn’t compete hard enough,” Quinn said. “We didn’t win enough battles and didn’t get into people, which hasn’t been the case. Just disappointing the way the game unfolded.”
Quinn even called out Evgeny Svechnikov for not attempting a block on Jacob Trouba’s point shot, which was deflected into the net for the first goal of the game with 6:03 remaining in the third period.
“We give them a faceoff goal where guys don’t want to block a shot,” Quinn said. “We don’t want to block a shot, we don’t get coverage and a guy gets a tip that should be covered, and it wasn’t.”
The Rangers found a way to bottle up Erik Karlsson, who entered the game second in the NHL in points (28), seven of which (one goal, six assists) had come in the previous three games.
“Somebody else has got to step up,” Sharks center Nico Sturm said. “(Karlsson’s) not going to have two or three points every night.”
The Senators are hoping to get Thomas Chabot back after he sustained a concussion against the Philadelphia Flyers on Nov. 12.
It was initially announced Chabot would be sidelined for at least a week.
Chabot is the second-highest scoring defenseman for the Senators with six points (three goals, three assists).
The Senators welcomed back another defenseman against the Devils when Artem Zub returned after missing the previous nine games with an upper-body injury.
Zub played 21:01 against New Jersey — second-most among Ottawa defenseman — and contributed four hits and a blocked shot.
Getting healthy on defense should help Ottawa on the offensive end.
The Senators enter Monday ranked 13th in the NHL at 3.29 goals per game, but they’ve struggled to score at key times.
“They’re trying, especially on the power play, whether there’s been chances or not,” Smith said. “Some nights it hasn’t gone in. It’s the timely goals, and it’s the ones you allow.”
–Field Level Media