SAN JOSE – While the Sharks still don’t know who they’ll be playing in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs just yet, they at least have a start date.
If the Predators pull off the upset of the Ducks in Game 7 at Honda Center on Wednesday night, San Jose will host Game 1 at SAP Center, on Friday. If the Ducks win, the Sharks’ charter will be headed to Anaheim to open up Game 1, also on Friday.
That means more time off for the club, and coach Pete DeBoer is concerned about the Sharks going a full week between playoff games after they wrapped up the Kings series in five games last Friday.
“You would never complain about not playing right now, but it’s definitely a fine line – you can get rusty, you can get a little soft,” DeBoer said. “The way these series work we can’t afford that. We can’t afford to come out and be off the first couple games. That’s the line we’re trying to walk.”
DeBoer expects whoever the Sharks will play in Game 1 to be the sharper club from the outset, even though there will only be one day of rest for either Anaheim or Nashville.
“I don’t think there will be any negative to the team coming out of it. I think we’re too early in the playoffs for fatigue or anything,” he said. “I think it’s going to be an advantage for whatever team we play just because they’ve been playing at a very high level all week. It’s on us to make sure that we’re practicing at that level, so that there’s no letdown.”
The Sharks held their second straight hour-long, up-tempo practice on Tuesday.
In the regular season, the Sharks didn’t have much success against the Ducks or the Predators. They were 1-3 against Anaheim, scoring just four goals while getting shut out twice, and finished 1-2 against Nashville, with their lone win coming in a shootout on April 2 at Bridgestone Arena.
DeBoer can’t hone in on one opponent just yet, and said Tuesday’s practice was more for “working on our foundation.”
“Obviously when we find out who we’re playing there will be a couple little tweaks or extra emphasis on some situations or things that a particular team brings. But, for us, where we’re at right now in the week, we probably would run the same practice we did today regardless if we knew who we were playing or not,” he said.
Logan Couture doesn’t mind waiting another day. He’s just like any other hockey fan in that he’s looking forward to seeing a Game 7.
“The NHL Playoffs are the best, by far,” Couture said. “People who don’t watch are missing out, big time. It’s a treat to watch. I try to watch as many games as I can.”
He’s looking forward to Friday’s second-round opener, but added: “I guess we can wait a little bit longer.”