Sharks, Blues both have reasons to be angry with Game 3 officiating


Sharks, Blues both have reasons to be angry with Game 3 officiating

San Jose’s 10th win of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs was among their most exciting and unexpected. They required a tying goal with less than a minute left in regulation, and a winning goal in overtime on what will undoubtedly become one of the most controversial squences of the playoffs.  

Regardless, here are some thoughts about the Sharks’ 2-1 series lead.

Erik Karlsson's big game

Erik Karlsson scored first and last for San Jose on Wednesday night. The two goals were his first of 2019 -- not just the playoffs of this year, but of the entire calendar year. Most of the regular season Karlsson had been hampered with injury.  

Although the offensive minded defenseman had contributed his hand in plenty of assists of this postseason, he had yet to find the back of the net since December 29th. 

Jumbo Joe

Joe Thornton (4) now has more goals in these playoffs than any other in his career. That’s hard to believe. Even a traditional pass-first superstar would have found a way to score more than a couple goals in some of his previous extended postseasons, right? But apparently not.  

Also hard to believe: Wednesday night was Thornton’s first multi-goal playoff game in his 21 NHL seasons. It was such a rebound, and such a statement for Jumbo in contrast to Game 2 where his line was unproductive and criticized for a couple defensive miscues.  

No comments necessary, he let his play do the talking, including assisting on Couture’s tying goal with 56 seconds left.

Logan Couture can't be stopped

Speaking of Logan Couture: two goals in the “Pavelski Payback”, a hat trick in Round 2, and now this huge spark in the Western Conference final.

Sure, Couture is running away in the quantity of playoff tallies (14 and counting). But the timeliness of his scoring is even more valuable than the league-leading amount.  

Second-period slippage

What about that second period, allowing four goals on 13 shots? San Jose reverted to some more defensive mistakes in the middle frame - losing a 3-1 lead and all the momentum that came with it. Those are areas to clean up for the Sharks, and would have been the main reason they lost.

Bu those miscues were constrained to just one period, and overall Martin Jones put up another winning effort.

Officiating controversy

Both sides have legitimate gripes with officiating in Game 3. In terms of questionable calls: the lack of an overtime “hand pass” by Timo Meier can be countered by lacks of whistles on David Perron and Sammy Blais. Perron had flung an earlier puck over the glass, which (somehow) did not result in penalty, and Blais shouldered Justin Braun in the head on what should have been an infraction (and still might end up being a suspension).  

[RELATED: Sharks, Blues react to Erik Karlsson's controversial OT goal]

What we’re seeing in these playoffs are almost every team impacted by unpopular officiating, it’s just that in the case of Game 3, the Sharks took their hits first, and caught their breaks late.

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 5-0 Game 5 home loss to Blues


Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 5-0 Game 5 home loss to Blues


SAN JOSE -- You might’ve had a feeling that Sunday’s game would be a doozy when Evander Kane rang the puck off the goal post just 10 seconds into it. But it’s unlikely anybody was prepared for how badly the Sharks would be outmuscled and out-chanced as they fell 5-0 to the Blues in Game 5 of the Western Conference final.

The Sharks now trail three games to two in the best-of-seven series, with a potentially decisive Game 6 scheduled for Tuesday night in St. Louis.

Here are three takeaways from Game 5 at SAP Center.

Another second period to forget

One of the Sharks' biggest complaints about their own game has been that they don’t play a solid 60 minutes. Even when they won Game 3 in overtime, they criticized themselves for giving up the lead in the second period. But they couldn't have played much worse in the second period of Game 5.

In addition to being outshot 20-6, the Sharks continued to move sloppily through the neutral zone and turn pucks over, making their job even more difficult. They were pushed around by the Blues for the entire 20 minutes.

The Karlsson Effect

Erik Karlsson plays a huge role for the Sharks, both offensively and defensively. The Sharks defenseman's absence definitely was felt when he skated for just 3 minutes and 3 seconds in the second period, then didn’t come out at all for the third.

Simply put, a healthy Karlsson makes San Jose better. And with Karlsson off the ice, the Sharks couldn't stop the push from the Blues' offense.

San Jose has preached a “next man up” message since the start of the regular season, and coach Peter DeBoer has called for more players to step up. That effort wasn’t there Sunday, which is worrisome because …

The injuries are piling up

As if Karlsson not taking the ice in the third period was enough of a concern, the Sharks lost even more bodies. Tomas Hertl didn’t see any playing time in the third period, and Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi both exited the game after sustaining injuries.

Without knowing right away how healthy any of those players are, there’s immediate wonder if the Sharks will be short some key players for Game 6. Will Tim Heed pencil into the lineup for Karlsson? Will Lukas Radil or Dylan Gambrell be part of San Jose’s offense?

The Sharks have played through bumps and bruises for most of their lengthy playoff run. But how many more of those bumps and bruises can they take and still be successful?

Sharks' Joe Pavelski, Erik Karlsson leave Game 5 vs. Blues with injuries


Sharks' Joe Pavelski, Erik Karlsson leave Game 5 vs. Blues with injuries

Sunday's Game 5 against the Blues went from bad to worse for the Sharks in their eventual 5-0 loss.

After falling behind 3-0 through two periods in their Western Conference final tilt at SAP Center, Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson was not on the bench to begin the third period. The star blueliner missed the majority of the third period in Game 4, but he was in the lineup for Game 5 despite being noticeably affected by his injury.

Soon, there was more salt on the wound. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski took a hit from Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo along the boards. He left the ice and went straight to the dressing room.


Shortly after Pavelski left the ice, the Blues lit the lamp again to make it 4-0.

[RELATED: Blues' fourth line giving Sharks issues]

San Jose later lost forward Joonas Donskoi after he took a puck to the side of his mouth.

The Sharks will have to regroup for what will be a do-or-die Game 6 in St. Louis.