Morning Skate: Keep eye on Sharks' Burns in Game 2


Morning Skate: Keep eye on Sharks' Burns in Game 2

Series schedule

The Blues lead the best-of-seven series, one game to none.

Game 1: Blues 2, Sharks 1
Game 2: Tuesday, May 17, Sharks @ Blues, 5 p.m.
Game 3: Thursday, May 19, Blues @ Sharks, 6 p.m.
Game 4: Saturday, May 21, Blues @ Sharks, 4:15 p.m.
*Game 5: Monday, May 23, Sharks @ Blues, 5 p.m.
*Game 6: Tuesday, May 25, Blues @ Sharks, 6 p.m.
*Game 7: Thursday, May 27, Sharks @ Blues, 5 p.m.

*if necessary

Last game

Jori Lehtera’s goal midway through the second period was the difference in a 2-1 Blues win in Game 1. David Backes opened the scoring in the first period, but Tomas Hertl answered with a double-deflection goal shortly after for San Jose’s only score. Brian Elliott managed 31 saves, including 24 in the second and third periods combined.

Keep an eye on…

Sharks: Brent Burns. The big defenseman managed 14 shot attempts, but only three made it on net, as he had nine blocked and another two that missed. Burns was also sloppy with the puck, getting burned on Lehtera’s goal after his pass up the ice was intercepted by the St. Louis center. Burns did register an assist on Hertl’s goal, though, and is second in the league in playoff scoring with 16 points.

Blues: David Backes. The Blues captain was credited with a game-high 11 hits, which was just three fewer than San Jose had as a team. He also had St. Louis’ first goal, a nifty deflection on the power play, and is now tied for the team lead in playoff goals with seven. His 13 playoff points in 15 games this year equals his total from his previous five playoffs combined (29 games).

Probable lines

Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Joonas Donskoi
Melker Karlsson – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Dainius Zubrus – Nick Spaling – Tommy Wingels

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Roman Polak

Martin Jones (starter)
James Reimer

Jaden Schwartz – Jori Lehtera – Vladimir Tarasenko
Robby Fabbri – Paul Stastny – Troy Brouwer
Patrik Berglund – Alexander Steen – David Backes
Scottie Upshall – Kyle Brodziak – Steve Ott

Jay Bouwmeester – Alex Pietrangelo
Joel Edmundson – Kevin Shattenkirk
Carl Gunnarsson – Colton Parayko

Brian Elliott (starter)
Jake Allen

Playoff vitals

Goals per game: 3.23
Goals-against per game: 2.31
Power play: 28.9 percent
Penalty kill: 80.5 percent

Goals per game: 3.07
Goals-against per game: 2.33
Power play: 28.6 percent
Penalty kill: 81.0 percent


Sharks: Matt Nieto (undisclosed) is out.

Blues: Vladimir Tarasenko (birth of son) is probable.

Sharks playoff record when…

The Sharks are 4-11 when trailing a series one game to none. They are 8-5 when a series is tied at one game apiece, and 0-10 when losing the first two.

San Jose is 15-18 all-time in Game 2’s, including 6-11 on the road.

Facts and figures

*The Sharks have fallen behind two-games-to-none in each of their previous three conference finals appearances (2004, 2010, 2011). They are now 3-13 all-time in the third round.

*The Blues split the first two games in each of their first two series against Chicago and Dallas.

*Teams that take a 2-0 lead in the conference finals are 74-7 all-time (91.4 percent).

*San Jose has lost four straight road games for the first time this season.

*The Blues are 4-4 at home in the playoffs, while San Jose is 5-1 at SAP Center, where the series shifts for games three and four later this week.


“It seemed like we had the puck a lot of the night. We had some good chances. We would like to finish on a couple more, obviously. I think we’ve still got another gear in the three‑man group.” – Joe Thornton, on his line’s performance in Game 1

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer gives no update on players injured in Game 5


Sharks coach Peter DeBoer gives no update on players injured in Game 5

SAN JOSE -- Questions surrounding the health of the Sharks lineup continued on Monday as the status of three of the four players sidelined in Game 5 remains unknown.

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer offered no update on Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl, or Erik Karlsson the day after all three missed significant time in San Jose's 5-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues. DeBoer also didn't elaborate on whether the three players would travel with the team to St. Louis to play in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final. Joonas Donskoi, who was also injured on Sunday but returned to the game in the final minutes, is expected to travel.

Neither Hertl nor Karlsson even took the bench with the rest of their teammates for the third period of Sunday's game, while Pavelski exited the contest in that third frame after being hit high by Alex Pietrangelo.

The nature of Hertl's injury is unknown, although there is speculation he may have been feeling the effects of a high hit he took from Ivan Barbashev in the first period of Sunday's game. Karlsson's status to even play in Game 5 was up in the air after he appeared to aggravate an old injury in Game 4.

The Sharks became especially emotional and took some big penalties in the third period of Game 5 after Pietrangelo's hit on Pavelski, given San Jose's captain missed six games after suffering a concussion in Game 7 against the Vegas Golden Knights.

"When Pav got hit high, we lost our composure there in the third," DeBoer said after the game. "Not our finest moment, but I understand where that emotion is coming from, with what he's been through."

[RELATED: Pavelski, Karlsson leave Game 5 with injuries]

While the health of San Jose's lineup is a concern, DeBoer told the media on Monday morning he isn't worried about penciling other players in. 

"We've dealt with this before and guys have stepped in and got the job done," he told the press. "People can write us off but I know in our room we know we've got guys that can get in there and get this done."


Five observations after Sharks get blown out in Game 5 vs. Blues


Five observations after Sharks get blown out in Game 5 vs. Blues

If the Sharks are to face Boston and play for the Stanley Cup, it will necessitate a third consecutive series featuring a Game 7.  On Sunday, San Jose had the bold opportunity to seize a three-games-to-two series lead against St. Louis but fell completely flat after the first 20 minutes.

Now they face elimination, needing two wins to escape and advance. Here are the big takeaways from the Western Conference final Game 5 loss. 

Injury concerns

More concerning than the 5-0 loss is the four players San Jose lost to injury during the contest. Erik Karlsson skated only three minutes of the second period and never returned. A best logical guess is that his previous leg-related ailments have returned or worsened. Tomas Hertl absorbed an Ivan Barbashev head hit in the first period, and while he played during the second period there was no return for the third. 

Joe Pavelski was unnecessarily pinned and elbowed into the boards by Alex Pietrangelo early in the third, and immediately left the contest. Lastly, Joonas Donskoi was accidentally struck in the face by a puck that Justin Braun was trying to clear from the defensive zone in the third.  The bloodied forward made a quick exit to the dressing room. 

Facing elimination

The challenge for San Jose to adapt and be better in Game 6 while facing elimination on the road would have been enough on their plate. However, if they are forced to do without one, or two, or more of those previous four mentioned players — the task goes from difficult to dire.  

Offensive struggles

It’s been a slogan all season that the Sharks would go so far as the defense could take them. However, the offense has hit an uncharacteristic low at the most unfortunate time. San Jose has just one goal in their last six periods.

Their first 20 minutes on Sunday saw eleven shots on goal. But then, things dwindled to just six and four in the respective final two periods. Anyone looking at the final score might be concerned with the “five” allowed from Game 5, but if you’re following trends, San Jose’s “zero” is the bigger story.

Odd stats

San Jose and St. Louis have many things in common, including getting things done the hardest of possible ways.  The Blues own a 7-2 playoff record outside of Missouri, meaning they’re an unexplainable 4-5 on home ice. As for San Jose, they’ve got an 0-6 record when leading a series, but a 10-3 record when tied or trailing in these Stanley Cup Playoffs.

[RELATED: Health a huge concern to key Sharks after Game 5 loss]

Nothing easy

It’s amazing how the Sharks have never had the opportunity for a single comfortable breath in these playoffs.  The last two losses are their first in sequence since April 14 and 16 while facing Las Vegas.  This means they went more than a month without losing back-to-back games -- but now., they face elimination.

No matter how and when these playoffs conclude for San Jose, the overwhelming theme is already starting to write itself: Every step has been a grind.