Analysis: Don't expect Sharks' poor OT to carry over into Game 6

Analysis: Don't expect Sharks' poor OT to carry over into Game 6

EDMONTON – Game 5 between the Sharks and Oilers will be remembered primarily for Edmonton’s late dominance, as it completely controlled play in overtime capped off by David Desharnais’ game-winning goal in a 4-3 triumph.

But to assume that it will be more of the same to start Game 6 would be misguided. The fact is the Sharks actually played a pretty darn good road game despite what the stats – both traditional and advanced – say.

Yes, the Sharks were outshot 48-30 in the game, and out-attempted a whopping 107-56. But they also managed to erase an early 1-0 hole to take control of the game in the second period, and were keeping the Oilers from getting any prime chances in the third, too. That veteran savvy that experienced teams show this time of year was on full display.

Oscar Klefbom’s game-tying slap shot wasn’t all that great of a scoring chance, either. He just wound up and fired the puck as hard as he could, and had Joe Pavelski been standing in just a slightly different position, the shot wouldn’t have made it through. It’s a wonder that it didn’t touch the Sharks captain, who looked to be in the right spot.

“The block is there for me, it misses me – probably got a screen on [Martin Jones] maybe a little bit, they tie it up,” Pavelski said.

While it’s concerning that the Sharks were stuck in their own end in overtime, there’s no reason to believe that will have any effect on Game 6, as this series has shown that there really is no such thing as momentum from game to game. 

Edmonton responded after a horrible final two periods in Game 1, the Sharks were dominant after dropping Game 3 with their season essentially on the line, and the Oilers quickly put that 7-0 defeat behind them in time for the start of Game 5.

The Sharks shouldn’t have to change up a whole lot ahead of Game 6 at home with their season on the line.

“I liked our game,” Pete DeBoer said. “You’re left with the taste of the overtime, but the 60-minute game, we came out and weathered the storm, found a way to get the lead, found a way to play with the lead right until two minutes left.

“There was a lot of good stuff here on the road in a tough environment. I think we’ve got to remind ourselves of that and forget the overtime and what that felt like, and get ready for the next game.”

Of course, the Oilers are showing a bit of mettle themselves. They took a beating in Game 4, and the Sharks landed some more punches in the first and second periods of Game 5, too.

Edmonton still found a way to reclaim the series lead.

“Our group believes,” Todd McLellan said. “We know how bad we played in Game 4, but we were able to park it, and start again, make amends. It didn’t look good for us, but we kept at it. When we do that, we’re a tough out.”

Oilers forward Mark Letestu said: “Momentum in this series clearly hasn't carried over. It seems like we've been going back and forth. It's going to take another good game on their ice to seal this thing out. We have to be ready for it, to take it to another level."

Game 6 should be another dandy. Both teams have a right to feel pretty good about themselves headed into it.

“There’s a lot of mood swings [in the series], but that’s the way it goes,” Mikkel Boedker said. “You’ve got to play every game like it’s the last game. … We get [to go] home now, and we’ll look to tie it up.”

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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