'No hiding' for Sharks as they face elimination against Oilers

'No hiding' for Sharks as they face elimination against Oilers

SAN JOSE – Every facet of their game was on point for the Sharks the last time they were at SAP Center. They’ll likely need at least a similar type of effort as that 7-0 battering they put on the Oilers in Game 4 again on Saturday in Game 6 if they’re going to keep their season alive.

They can draw on some recent elimination game experience to give them a boost, too.

During their run to the Stanley Cup Final last year, San Jose smoked the Predators in the seventh game of the second round, and fought off the Penguins in Game 5 before Pittsburgh managed to raise the Stanley Cup in Game 6.

“It’s different, there’s no doubt. There’s no hiding from [elimination],” Pete DeBoer said on Saturday morning. “You lose, you go home. … We’ve been here before, we know how to handle it, and I think we’re confident we'll show up with a real good game here tonight.”

The Sharks will surely have to be better than they were in overtime in Game 5, when the Oilers took the momentum from a late game-tying goal from Oscar Klefbom and dominated San Jose after the third intermission. David Desharnais sent the Rogers Place crowd home happy in a result that seemed in evitable the way the extra session was going, Martin Jones’ highlight reel stops aside.

Prior to that, though, San Jose played a strong road game. Even in the third period when the Oilers were pushing while down 3-2, they were kept mostly to the outside.

“I think that as much as we were maybe giving up shots, I don’t think we gave up any Grade A [chances in the third period],” Brenden Dillon said. “It’s a defenseman coming in off a change, and makes a perfect off-the-post [shot] and in.”

DeBoer pointed out that the Oilers only outshot the Sharks 8-7 in the third.

“I don’t think we gave them anything, and even on that [Klefbom goal] we had five guys back,” the coach said. “They made a good play, what are you going to do? It happens. They made a good play at the right time and converted. You can’t overthink those things.”

“We were two minutes away from playing a great road game and having a great win. To their credit, they found a way to get off the mat. We understand what happened in the overtime. We’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Playing at home should give the Sharks an advantage tactically as much as emotionally. In games three and four, San Jose is able to get the Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Justin Braun pair out against the Connor McDavid line more easily due to last change. The Oilers’ leading scorer is still searching for his first even strength point in the series.

In Game 5, Braun played a game-high 34:30 while Vlasic was a close second at 33:49. As he is wont to do, Vlasic played off the extra time, saying he “took a nap yesterday” so he should be well-rested for Game 6.

“I love to play. The more I play the better I feel,” he said. “Playing against one of the best players in the world, so what’s not to like?”

Paul Martin, who has been in the playoffs every season of his 13-year NHL career, said: “I think we build off what we did at home last game, as far matchups and the way that we played. I think we can’t come in and play tentative hockey, we have to come in and play our hockey, and see what happens.”


Sharks start training camp with familiar face elsewhere: ‘It’s kind of strange’


Sharks start training camp with familiar face elsewhere: ‘It’s kind of strange’

SAN JOSE — There was something familiar missing in San Jose when the Sharks opened training camp.

For the first time since 1996, the Sharks took the ice for their first training camp practice without Patrick Marleau on the team as the franchise's career leader in games and scoring left as a free agent for Toronto this summer.

"I've spent a lot of years with him. It is kind of strange," said Joe Thornton, who came to San Jose in 2005. "It's his birthday today too. It's a little weird, but he's going to do great up in Toronto."

Marleau had been with San Jose since being picked second overall in 1997 but left the Sharks to sign an $18.75 million, three-year deal with the Maple Leafs in July.

Marleau has 508 goals and 574 assists for 1,082 points. He had 46 points in playing all 82 games last season as he rebounded from a disappointing 2015-16 season by scoring 27 goals, including the 500th of his career. He ranks first in San Jose in career goals, games and points.

Only six players in NHL history have played more games with one team than Marleau's 1,493 in San Jose. The Sharks haven't played a game without him on the ice since April 7, 2009.

"Obviously Patty has meant so much to this organization and this group," captain Joe Pavelski said. "Everyone in this room has pretty much played with him and Patty has done something to help them out. He'll be missed. ... Just by committee somebody will step in and fill that kind of hole. That's what we'll need."

The Sharks made no major additions this offseason so will need to replace Marleau's 27 goals by getting development from younger players like Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Danny O'Regan, as well as bounce-back seasons from veterans like Thornton, Mikkel Boedker and Joonas Donskoi.

Only Pavelski, Logan Couture and Brent Burns are back after scoring more than 12 goals last season.

"When I look back at last year we had key people either have down years or miss significant time with injuries or coming off injuries," coach Peter DeBoer said. "I think if we can stay healthy I think we've got a large group of guys that can really take a step this year and I expect a step out of them."

While the Sharks lost Marleau in free agency, they did manage to keep Thornton by giving him a one-year, $8 million contract despite dwindling production last season and offseason knee surgery.

He scored just seven goals — his fewest in an 82-game season since his rookie year in 1997-98 — and was a key part of a power-play unit that uncharacteristically struggled last season. But he still managed 43 assists, teaming with captain Joe Pavelski on San Jose's top line.

Thornton missed the final week of the regular season and the first two playoff games with a left knee injury before returning for the final four games of a first-round loss to Edmonton. Thornton then underwent surgery to repair his MCL and ACL after the season but was back skating in August and started ramping it up for training camp two weeks ago. Thornton believes the lower-body work he did in rehab this offseason will pay dividends on the ice.

"They feel real strong," he said of his legs. "I feel a lot of pop out there. They're probably as strong as they've ever been just because I had to rehab that knee so much."

Sharks Media Day highlights: Beards, smiles & cup checks


Sharks Media Day highlights: Beards, smiles & cup checks

The boys were back together in San Jose on Thursday for Sharks Media Day, with plenty of smiles and moments of levity. Check out the highlights...

Hey Jumbo, you dropped something. 👖🤷‍♂️

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Martin Jones is pretty good at photobombs 📸💣

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🤳 Media Day #SJSharks

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New season. New commercials. 🕉🚌📺 #ComingSoon #SharksForLife

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