San Jose Sharks’ Quinn blasts ‘soft, slow’ play after latest home loss

David Quinn after 6-3 loss to Carolina Hurricanes: “We’ve just got to be harder to play against and tonight wasn’t good enough. Way too soft and way too slow.”

SAN JOSE, Calif. – David Quinn and the San Jose Sharks know they must be a much tougher team to play against this season if they are to improve on last year.

While the Sharks had moments like that in the first two games of the season, Tuesday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes was clearly a step back.

Quinn witnessed his team revert to some unfortunate habits the rest of the way in a 6-3 loss to the Hurricanes at SAP Center after seeing his team play some of its best hockey of the season through the first five minutes of the third period.

A one-goal Sharks lead with 11 minutes left in the third period became a three-goal deficit in six minutes due to two penalties and a refusal to skate and engage. As a result, the Sharks are now 0-2-1, with the Boston Bruins visiting on Thursday.

“I didn’t like the way we played for most of the night,” said Quinn. “I didn’t think we skated as well as we should have, I didn’t think we were physically strong enough, and it caught up with us.”

“We need to be a lot more competitive in our battles than we were tonight.” Throughout the game, we were far too concerned with the puck. Battles are easy for him. That was disappointing because that had not previously been the case.”

A power-play goal by Stefan Noesen at 9:07 of the third period, with Tomas Hertl’s tripping penalty about to expire, tied the game 3-3. With Mario Ferraro serving a cross-checking penalty, Seth Jarvis scored on a one-timer from near the faceoff dot to the left of the Sharks’ net.

Carolina took the lead for good with 8:09 remaining in regulation, but Martin Necas and Brett Pesce added goals 16 seconds apart later in the third period to seal the victory.

The final 15 minutes of the third period brought back memories of last season. The Sharks were outscored 116-75 in the third period on their way to a 22-44-16 record, but they also gave up 19 empty-net goals.

“We tried to do things the right way (in the first two periods) and just all of a sudden, something flipped and we were doing the wrong things,” Zadina said. “We weren’t skating… we were losing battles and attempting to poke-check everything instead of going through bodies.” This is how you lose a game.”

The Sharks were called for cross-checking three times, hooking twice, and tripping once for the night.

“When you don’t skate and hit, you’re gonna take penalties,” he said. “And that’s exactly what happened. Simply bad penalties. Penalties for laziness.

“Puck was watching, and when we got into a fight, we went for the puck first instead of the flesh.” That was our problem with every puck battle we lost, and we lost a lot of them.”

The Sharks were outshot 42-16 by the Hurricanes after being outshot 52-21 by Colorado. Regardless of the opponent, the Sharks will never be able to get out of their own way unless they play with speed and movement.

“We’ve just got to skate more,” said Zadina, who leads the Sharks with two goals in three games. “We’ll have more time to make plays and get into position if we skate more.” We’ll start doing things correctly if we start skating more.”

The Sharks are trying to avoid the same nightmare start they had last season, when they started 0-5-0 for the first time in franchise history, with a slew of new players and in their second season under Quinn.

One could argue that Mackenzie Blackwood’s performance on Saturday, when he stopped 51 shots in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche, is the only reason the Sharks have a point right now.

Since the start of last season, the Sharks have gone 8-24-12 at home.

“I’m sure that weighs on the guys mentally,” Quinn said. “I don’t care if we’re playing at home, away, or on a pond in the middle of America. We just need to be more difficult to play against, and tonight wasn’t good enough. It’s definitely too soft and too slow.”

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