Changes coming after trouncing in San Jose

John Down

Jed Ortmeyer got his first goal in 28 games, Scott Nichol his first in 27, Rob Blake his first in 17, Manny Malhotra in 12 . . .

And on it went for the San Jose Sharks on Monday night as they fattened up on the Calgary Flames while setting a franchise record of having eight different players score during that 9-1 victory.

This was the sort of breakout game the Flames had hoped for, a game where players like Nigel Dawes, Eric Nystrom, Jarome Iginla and Daymond Langkow would break out of prolonged goal-scoring slumps.

No one could have seen this thrashing coming. No one. It’s not like the Flames had been kicked around in their previous four losses. Far from it, in fact. Outside of last week’s game against Nashville, they’d outplayed Pittsburgh and Colorado but ran into hot goaltenders.

Sunday at Anaheim, they’d scored four goals and unleashed 19 shots in the third period to reluctantly bow to the Anaheim Ducks.

But Monday. Wow. What a dud of a performance against one of the top teams in the league, against a team they’ve actually enjoyed some success against.

You can’t say they didn’t quit because that wouldn’t be fair. But they certainly do much right, either. Outside of a couple of early power-plays in the second period, they offered up very little offensively and simply fell apart defensively when the Sharks broke out.

The performance left coach Brent Sutter stuck for a description of what had transpired. He’s used the words casual, failure to engage and disappointing among others following certain losses this season but he was tongue-tied after this one.

He’d start a sentence, pause . . . start another sentence, pause . . .

He did get some things out but he really seemed to be dumfounded that his team could throw such a stinker and was truly stuck for an explanation.

It wasn’t just one player, it was an entire team.

Some sort of change is coming, of that you can be sure. In fact, you have to wonder if one or two players haven’t played their way onto the trade winds.