Sharks

Gerard Gallant sounds off on Peter DeBoer before Sharks-Vegas Game 7

Gerard Gallant sounds off on Peter DeBoer before Sharks-Vegas Game 7

SAN JOSE -- The Sharks' war of words with the Vegas Golden Knights has spilled over behind the benches.

Hours before Game 7 in the teams' first-round Stanley Cup playoffs series Tuesday, Vegas coach Gerard Gallant forcefully denied that he talked trash to Sharks forward Logan Couture.

"I really don't want to talk about that," Gallant said when a reporter asked about the Sharks' accusations, "but I think I'm going to have to a little bit because for that clown to say that in the paper yesterday, it's not right."

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer told reporters after San Jose's Monday practice that "there's still chatter" despite the two teams no longer trading as many jabs through the media after some verbal sparring following Games 3 and 4. The source of that chatter, according to DeBoer, was Gallant.

"Their coach is chattering," DeBoer told reporters in San Jose on Tuesday. "He’s probably doing the most chattering. He’s talking to our players constantly during the game, which I haven’t seen before. That’s probably where most of the chatter’s coming from now. The players are playing.”

When a reporter followed up and asked if it was directed at Couture, DeBoer replied: "Yeah, ridiculous."

During the third period of Game 5, Gallant argued with referees after Jonathan Marchessault high-sticked Couture. When the Sharks scored on the ensuing power play, Gallant sarcastically gave the officials a thumbs-up, telling reporters after the game he "didn't think there was much there, for that reaction." Couture lost two teeth on the play, and the Golden Knights coach said Wednesday that his ire was with the officials and not the Sharks forward.

"There might have been two incidents that happened, and I'll tell you both of the incidents," Gallant said. "Logan Couture, I thought it was an embellishment [at the time], so I'm yelling at the referee, not yelling at Logan Couture. The other one, Game 2, Evander Kane's yelling at Ryan Reaves between the bench, and Evander yelled at me and said, 'Hey, coach! When are you gonna send your big guy out on the ice and play him more than four minutes?' And I said, 'He's played 10 minutes every game, and he's gonna play a lot more.'"

Kane and Reaves, of course, threw shade at one another -- via reporters and on social media -- after Games 3 and 4. Games 5 and 6, however, were much more disciplined on the ice, as the teams combined for 20 penalty minutes in those contests compared to 172 in the first four.

[RELATED: Jamie Baker explains how it feels to score a Game 7 winner]

Couture backed his coach's assessment to reporters Tuesday, while Marchessault said he "never saw" Gallant talk to any players other than his own. One of these team's seasons will end at SAP Center on Tuesday night, and the handshake-line conversation between the two coaches will be one to watch.

"If I'm going to be a chirper and a loudmouth, I think people know me as a coach and respect me as a coach," Gallant said. "If [DeBoer] going to yap about that, that's a little unclassy for me."

Blues' fourth line has caused Sharks problems during West final

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USATSI

Blues' fourth line has caused Sharks problems during West final

The Sharks and Blues enter Sunday afternoon's critical Game 5 of the Western Conference final all tied at two.

San Jose has held up well against St. Louis' top three lines during the first four games of the series, but it's the Blues' fourth line that has given the Sharks issues.

That's why Blues head coach Craig Berube put Ivan Barbashev, Oskar Sundqvist and Alexander Steen on the ice to open Friday night's Game 4 -- a 2-1 Blues win.

It paid off, as the line forced a turnover in the Sharks' zone 35 seconds into the game with an aggressive forecheck. After Brent Burns was crunched behind San Jose's net, the puck found its way to Barbashev. The winger ripped a shot on goal that glanced off Sharks center Gustav Nyquist and found the back of the net to give the Blues an early 1-0 lead. 

In the series, St. Louis' fourth line has scored three goals, been good on the penalty kill and aggressive on the forecheck. In short, they haven't played like a fourth line.

“They have a lot of confidence,” Berube said, via The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Just getting that first shift in like that is big. It gets us to our game right away. They’ve been really good in all facets of the game, not only getting some secondary scoring from ‘em, but just put ‘em against any line out there they do the job. Penalty killing, checking, just all the little things.”

They've created scoring chances on rushes up ice and just been an overall pain in the Sharks' backside.

“I don’t call them our fourth line, but they do so much for us,” Blues center Brayden Schenn said. “They’re PKers, they’re scoring big goals right now. So, if you want, you can label them as that, but we don’t see that in the locker room. We feel like we’re a group of 12 forwards out there and anyone can do the job on any given night. Those guys stepped up as a line tonight and got us going.”

As the two teams get ready for an afternoon puck drop at SAP Center on Sunday, it's important that San Jose finds a way to neutralize the energy the Blues' fourth line brings.

The Sharks haven't lost two straight home games during these Stanley Cup playoffs, and taking out the energetic fourth line will go along ways to securing a Game 5 win and three-games-to-two series lead.

[RELATED: History at Game 5s on Sharks' side vs. Blues]

The Blues will need a burst of energy in order to combat what is sure to be raucous SAP Center crown Sunday afternoon. That energy has come from the fourth line during this series.

If Barbashev, Steen and Sundqvist go quiet Sunday, the Sharks have a good chance at inching closer to the Stanley Cup Final. 

Sharks vs Blues Game 5 watch guide: Projected lines and defensive pairs

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USATSI

Sharks vs Blues Game 5 watch guide: Projected lines and defensive pairs

SAN JOSE – After splitting the first four games of their best-of-seven series, the Sharks return home for a Sunday matinee against the Blues in Game 5 of the Western Conference final. 

After tallying a controversial overtime win in Game 3, Team Teal got into an early two-goal hole in Game 4 and was unable to bounce back, falling 2-1. Tomas Hertl tallied the Sharks' lone goal on the evening during a third-period power play, while Martin Jones made 20 saves.

The Sharks are 18-18 all-time in Game 5 situations and 12-6 at SAP Center.

Here are both teams’ projected lines and defensive pairings.

Sharks projected lines and pairs

Timo Meier - Logan Couture - Gustav Nyquist
Evander Kane - Tomas Hertl - Joe Pavelski
Melker Karlsson - Joe Thornton - Kevin Labanc
Marcus Sorensen - Barclay Goodrow - Joonas Donskoi

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon - Erik Karlsson
Joakim Ryan - Justin Braun

Martin Jones - projected starter
Aaron Dell

[RELATED: No injury update on Karlsson]

Blues projected lines and pairs

Jaden Schwartz - Brayden Schenn - Vladimir Tarasenko
Sammy Blais - Ryan O'Reilly - David Perron
Patrick Maroon - Tyler Bozak - Robert Thomas
Ivan Barbashev - Oskar Sundqvist - Alex Steen

Joel Edmundson - Alex Pietrangelo
Jay Bouwmeester - Colton Parayko
Carl Gunnarsson – Robert Bortuzzo

Jordan Binnington - projected starter
Jake Allen