After a 6-3 blowout loss in Game 4, San Jose Sharks fans have every right to be extremely frustrated.
With a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in their best-of-seven Western Conference final series against the St. Louis Blues, the Sharks put forth an incredibly sloppy performance on home ice.
San Jose had won six straight home playoff games going into Saturday's inexplicable poor performance.
Team Teal was hardly ever dominanted in terms of possession, but uncharacterstic turnovers ended up in the back of the Sharks net. The normally reliable Paul Martin coughed up one particular bad turnover that ended up leading directly to the Blues second goal.
It was simply a bad game from the Sharks. The good news is the mistakes were indeed uncharaterstic, and not likely to be repeated with any regularity. There are also a five other reasons to be thinking positive thoughts going into Game 5.
1. Special Teams Won't be That Bad Again
Asked during his postgame interview what the difference was in the game and Joe Thornton responded with "special teams."
Looking back at the game, Thornton hit the nail on the head. St. Louis would go up 4-0 in the game before San Jose got on the board and two of their first three goals came via special teams.
Troy Brouwer opened the scoring on the power play, and when San Jose had a chance to cut the lead down to 2-1 with their own power play, they then proceeded to give up a short-handed goal.
For the game, the Blues finished 2-5 on the power play, so three special teams goals in total. The Sharks went 0-5 on their power play and scored all three of their goals at even strength.
That type of lopsided special teams in St. Louis' favor is not likely to happen again in this series. San Jose's power play has been far too good during these playoffs. They are far, far more likely to score multiple power play goals next game than they are to have a similar negative-1 net scoring on the man adcantage.
2. They are the Better Team at Even Strength
Even though the Sharks special teams have been really good all postseason, tying St. Louis in the special teams battle in Game 5 will likely be good enough to win. San Jose has been the far better team in this series during five aside play.
If we take away Dainius Zubrus's empty netter in Game 2 for the Sharks and Alex Pietrangelo's empty netter in Game 4 for the Blues, the Sharks have out-scored the Blues 8-3 in this series at even strength.
Outside a handful of bad giveaways by the Sharks in Game 4 that led to quality looks from the Blues, San Jose has been the only team in this series that has generated any consistent offensive zone time.
St. Louis' best offensive player, Vladimir Tarasenko has yet to record a single point in this series, owns a minus-2 rating and somehow ended up with a minus rating in Game 4 despite his team winning in blowout fashion.
3. Sharks Have Been Dominant After Losses
The Sharks have been rock solid in these playoffs in games after a loss. Their record thus far is 4-1, with the only loss being the game in Nashville where the NHL blew the call on what should have been a Joe Pavelski OT winner. So realistically, the Sharks should be 5-0 in these playoffs in games after a loss.
In that Game 4 in Nashville where Pavelski should have won the game, the Sharks weren't great for the majority of it. They were terrific during the multiple overtimes though and in the other four games after losses, the Sharks were fantastic.
After dropping their one game in the LA series, San Jose came back in Game 4 and scored three power-play goals to take a 3-0 lead early in the third period. Against Nashville the Sharks responded with dominating wins in Games 5 and 7 after losing Games 4 and 6. And finally in this series, after playing well but losing Game 1, San Jose came back in Game 2 with a 4-0 shutout where all four lines played great hockey.
4. Comfortable at Scottrade Center
Including the regular season and playoffs, the Sharks are 3-1 so far this season at the Scottrade Center. Their only loss was a game that they were clearly the better team. Ergo, with any luck, they would be 4-0 in St. Louis this season.
Game 5 being played in St. Louis doesn't give the Blues any advantage based on what has transpired thus far. Head coach Ken Hitchock gets last change at home, but so far this year it hasn't mattered one bit.
5. Longer Series Benefits the Sharks
The Blues had to go the distance in both of their first two series in these playoffs. Winning three straight long series is an extremely tough task. We know for sure this series is going at least six, and if it does go seven, San Jose will be the fresher team.
While the Blues went seven games against both Chicago and Dallas, the Sharks only needed five games in round one to beat Los Angeles. The week off they had between rounds one and two ought to give them the energy advantage as this series goes to a Game 6 and potentially Game 7.