Sharks can't overcome Flames, clerical error: 'Just couldn’t finish it off'

Sharks can't overcome Flames, clerical error: 'Just couldn’t finish it off'

CALGARY – The Sharks were already shorthanded on their blue line headed into Wednesday’s game in Calgary. Paul Martin was unable to go for unspecified reasons, Dylan DeMelo suffered a wrist injury in Edmonton on Tuesday that will keep him out for weeks, and David Schlemko is still on the shelf with an upper body injury.

But a mix up on the official lineup sheet that gets filled out by the coaching staff before every game further complicated matters. 

Pete DeBoer and staff thought Martin would be able to play after he took warmups, and left him in the lineup while leaving off Mirco Mueller. When Martin was unable to go, the Sharks trotted out Mueller instead.

Only problem was the official scorers never got word, making Mueller ineligible. When they saw number 41 line up with Brent Burns in the first period they tossed him from the game six-and-a-half minutes in, after a long stretch of play with no whistles. The Sharks were down to five defensemen, one of which was rookie Tim Heed, making his NHL debut.

DeBoer took responsibility for the faux pas. 

“That’s on us, the coaches,” he said after the game. “We have some checks and balances on our lineup, and went into warmup and we felt [Martin] could play. There was some last minute movement there obviously, and he didn’t play. Just got left out. 

“Feel badly. Apologized to Mirco, it’s not a good spot to put him in. I thought the other guys did a good job.”

The Sharks did, in fact, play admirably, considering those unforeseen circumstances and that they were playing the second of a back-to-back. But after failing to build on a 2-1 lead despite outplaying the Flames for much of the night, Dougie Hamilton’s wrist shot from a bad angle with just 2:19 to go pushed the Flames to a 3-2 win.

Aaron Dell, making his first start against a Western Conference team, called playing at the Saddledome a “dream come true” after he grew up nearby and had more than a dozen friends and family in the stands. Still, he was disappointed with himself on the Hamilton goal, which he didn’t track off of the defenseman’s stick due to a few bodies in front of him.

“I saw it kind of late and it just kind of snuck through, but at the time of that game I have to make that save,” Dell said.

DeBoer said Dell “was alright. This is a tough building. Tough one on the last one, but they had some traffic on two of the goals. … He gave us a chance to hang around.”

The difference in the game from the head coach’s perspective was that the Sharks never increased their 2-1 lead after the first period after goals by Logan Couture (power play) and Burns. They had a number of chances, and even after the Flames tied it late in the second period on a power play, Mikkel Boedker had an opportunity to play hero for the second straight night when he was awarded a penalty shot with 5:27 to go in a 2-2 game.

Boedker, who had a hat trick on Tuesday night, failed to slip it through Chad Johnson’s five hole.

Remarkably, he got another try in the closing seconds with the Sharks down 3-2. He raced ahead untouched on another breakaway and this time he got the puck through Johnson, only to see the goalie get just enough of it after it had trickled behind him to keep it out.

“The last one there with [eight] seconds left, it went through [Johnson] and hit him and went wide,” Boedker said. “It’s good to [get] those opportunities, and getting those chances is what you want as a player. But, a different outcome would have been nice.”

Whether the outcome would have been different without the clerical error by the coaching staff will never be known, but the Sharks players weren’t making a fuss over the matter.

“That stuff is small,” Burns said. “Everybody gets to play more. You’re in the game. It’s not a big deal.”

Boedker said: “Our five [defensemen] today did a great job. I thought as a whole team we did a pretty good job. We just couldn’t finish it off.”

After beating Vegas, Sharks can't suffer emotional letdown vs. Avalanche


After beating Vegas, Sharks can't suffer emotional letdown vs. Avalanche

SAN JOSE -- The Sharks and Avalanche enter their second-round series of the NHL playoffs on very different pages. San Jose will be just three days removed from their Game 7 overtime victory over the Vegas Golden Knights, while the Avs haven't played since booting the Calgary Flames from the playoffs on April 19. 

When asked if there was an advantage to not having time to get rusty, Sharks’ coach Peter DeBoer tried to suppress a laugh. 

“If you’re asking me if I’d rather have a week off, I’ll take the week off,” he told NBC Sports California with a smile.

Granted, San Jose is dealing with multiple injuries sustained during their contentious first-round bout with the Golden Knights. But more than anything, DeBoer wants his team to be able to keep their intensity high after a come-from-behind series win over Vegas. Extracurriculars, off-ice chatter, and back-to-back games going extra long can really zap the energy out of a team, and San Jose has to be ready to bounce back from that. 

“I’m more worried about our emotional level than our physical,” DeBoer admitted. “You’re fighting for your life for three games in a row, that taxes you emotionally. So we’ve got to get our emotional levels back up when we come out on the ice on Friday night.”

There is one advantage San Jose has over their next opponent, however: getting to start the series in their own building.

“It’s nice to not be traveling today to Colorado,” DeBoer said. “It’s nice, especially after a seven-game series, to not have to travel.”

Defenseman Brenden Dillon agreed. “I think any time you get to play at home and you don’t have to travel three or four hours, different time zones, it’s going to play to our advantage. Especially after a big series like that, a physical series where guys are banged up. Any time you’re able to sleep in your own bed I think is a positive.”

Dillon and the rest of the Sharks’ defensemen have a tall task ahead of them in shutting down Colorado’s speedy offense, which did quite a bit of damage against the Flames in their first-round series. Top-line center Nathan MacKinnon and second-line winger Mikko Rantanen led the charge with a combined 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) against Calgary, while Hobey Baker winner Cale Makar finished his first NHL playoff series with two points (one goal, one assist) and a plus-four. 

[RELATED: Sharks' Pavelski unlikely to play in Game 1 vs. Avs]

Much like shutting down Vegas’ Mark Stone line, San Jose will have to solve the MacKinnon combo if they’re going to be successful. 

“We’ve got to be aware of them,” DeBoer said, explaining that facing the Avs' offense in the playoffs will be different than facing them during the regular season. “The regular season you throw out the window this time of year. We watched them against Calgary and what they did to them against a really good d-corps. We know what we’re dealing with and that’s going to be the challenge of the series.”

Sharks' Joe Pavelski day-to-day but unlikely to play in Game 1 vs. Avalanche

Sharks' Joe Pavelski day-to-day but unlikely to play in Game 1 vs. Avalanche

SAN JOSE – Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer is classifying Joe Pavelski as day-to-day after the captain sustained a scary injury during San Jose's Game 7 win against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.

Pavelski left Game 7 at the 9:13 mark of the third period after getting cross-checked off a faceoff by Cody Eakin and falling to the ice and hitting his head. No. 8 was bleeding profusely and had to be helped off the ice by a few of his teammates with a towel being held to his head. DeBoer wouldn’t specify exactly what Pavelski’s ailment was, but said the top-line forward was “feeling the effects” of the injury and likely won’t be in the lineup for Game 1 of the Sharks' second-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Colorado Avalanche.

“It could’ve been worse, you could’ve been dealing with a fractured skull,” DeBoer told the media after Thursday’s morning skate. “Thankfully, we weren’t.”

Pavelski did not take the ice for practice Thursday, although the press was told he was in the building.

Teammates Melker Karlsson and Tim Heed were also missing from practice Thursday morning. Joonas Donskoi, who missed Game 7 against the Knights with an unspecified injury, skated in a non-contact orange sweater early Thursday morning but left the ice before practice got underway. Micheal Haley returned to practice for the first time since sustaining an injury during Game 3 against the Knights.

When questioned about the status of players missing from practice, DeBoer chalked it up to the team being banged-up just like every other team still in the hunt for the Stanley Cup.

“Like anybody this time of year, we have a lot of game-time decisions,” DeBoer said.

[RELATED: NHL apologizes to Vegas for mistake on major penalty call]

The Sharks will open up their second-round series against the Avalanche at SAP Center on Friday.