SAN JOSE, Calif. — For anyone who thought the low point of the Sharks’ season came toward the end of their five-game road trip earlier this week, think again.
After another debacle Saturday night, no one can say for sure when this thing is going to bottom out.
The Sharks never gave themselves a chance against the Vancouver Canucks, allowing two goals in the first period and two more in the second in a 5-2 loss at SAP Center, their fifth straight over the last nine days.
The Sharks managed just nine even-strength shots on goal through the first two periods, as the Canucks pounced on a handful of the host team’s mistakes for their first win in San Jose since March 31, 2016.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic, while short-handed, scored the Sharks’ first goal at the 10:51 mark of the third period, and Evander Kane scored with 22 seconds left in regulation time.
Goalie Aaron Dell, making his first start since the Sharks lost 5-2 in Ottawa to the Senators last Sunday, finished with 23 saves on 28 shots.
Brandon Sutter and Elias Pettersson scored in the first period and Jake Virtanen and Adam Gaudette scored in the second for the Canucks (9-3-2), who remained in second place in the Pacific Division, 11 points ahead of the Sharks (4-10-1).
The last time the Sharks had a losing streak this long came late last season, when they went 0-6-1 from March 14-28.
At that time, though, the Sharks were already comfortably in a playoff spot and were just playing for position. Even though this season is only a month old, the Sharks are already nine points out of a playoff spot.
The Sharks once again allowed the first goal, the league-worst 11th time it’s happened in 15 games this year, as Sutter took advantage of some shaky puck handling by Dell and some shoddy defensive coverage overall.
Dell took control of the puck near his net and casually passed it up the middle, presumably trying to find Logan Couture.
The pass was off target, setting in motion a wild sequence that ended with a shot on net by Josh Leivo. Dell made the first save, but gave up a fat rebound that Sutter took, stick-handled to his left and backhanded it in at the 4:17 mark of the first period.
Pettersson gave the Sharks a 2-0 lead at the 12:46 mark of the first, batting a bouncing puck past Dell for his fifth of the season.
The back-breaker for the Sharks, though, came early in the second period.
Alex Edler sprung Virtanen on a breakaway with a pass up the middle through the neutral zone. Virtanen shot a shot off that got through Dell, with the puck getting behind him and crossing the goal line before Dell kicked it back over. After a lengthy review, the goal was confirmed and the Sharks were down 3-0.
The Sharks have not held a lead in any game since they were up 1-0 on the Toronto Maple Leafs until late in the second period. Jake Muzzin then with three seconds left in the second period, and the Leafs scored three goals in the third for a 4-1 victory.
Since then the Sharks have given up the first goal in four straight games, outscored 7-1 in the first period in the process.
The Sharks, now 0-2 on this homestand, face the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday.
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