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Sharks to give fans free tattoos during NHL playoffs in San Jose shops

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USATSI

Sharks to give fans free tattoos during NHL playoffs in San Jose shops

If you've been waiting to permanently emblazon yourself with a Sharks logo, now's your chance. 

During road games of their Western Conference final series with the St. Louis Blues, the Sharks are offering free tattoos based on one of their alternate logos. A different tattoo shop in San Jose will offer the free ink during Games 3, 4 and 6 (if necessary), and each has 40 tattoos available, according to the Sharks' website. 

A tattoo no longer has to be a lifelong commitment, but it still has plenty of permanence. Thus, this doesn't seem like something intended for anyone who is on the fence about ink, let alone their own fandom. 

[RELATED: Five observations from Sharks' 4-2 loss to Blues in Game 2]

But, if you are one of the brave souls considering this, chances are you are pretty committed to the Sharks. Well, unless you're a Vegas Golden Knights or Colorado Avalanche fan who lost a bet. 

Player's Ink, the San Jose tattoo shop offering the promotion for Wednesday, opened at 10 a.m. -- and it looks like Sharks fans have already taken advantage.

Puck drops for Game 3 between the Sharks and Blues on Wednesday night at 5 p.m.

Sharks emphasizing importance of first goal in desire to pile up wins

Sharks emphasizing importance of first goal in desire to pile up wins

SAN JOSE -- Jumping out to an early lead doesn't always guarantee a team will win, but that's been the theme for the Sharks through the first couple of weeks of the regular season. 

And after scoring the first goal of a game for the first time this season against the Flames -- and going on to win, no less -- San Jose is looking to establish that early-game presence more often. 

"It was nice to score first for once and feel good," Logan Couture said without hesitation Sunday night after the Sharks skated away with a 3-1 victory over Calgary. "We built off the third period in the Chicago game (last Thursday) which is what we really wanted to do."

Kevin Labanc agreed. "That was a big lead for us and we've got to start every game like that. That's got to be our focus."

Per Hockey-Reference, San Jose went 31-8-5 during the 2018-19 season when they scored the first goal, and outscored opponents 102-85 in first periods according to Statspass. The Sharks then averaged 22:41 minutes of lead time per game last year, per MoreHockeyStats.com, en route to winning 46 games and coming in second place in the Pacific Division.

While history doesn't always repeat itself, it's evident the Sharks have a better chance of winning if they can get on the scoreboard first, instead of battling back from behind. As the first five games of this season have shown, rallying out of an early hole can be challenging -- and resulted in four straight losses to begin the campaign.

"We've been talking about the last five games about coming (from) behind," Tomas Hertl said. "It costs you a lot of energy and it's hard."

This isn't to say San Jose can't win a game coming from behind. Per MoreHockeyStats.com, the Sharks won 20 regular-season games last year in which they didn't score first. But with the new season comes new challenges, and as of late, San Jose is giving up too many breakaways and prime chances. With wrinkles in the Sharks' defense still being ironed out, they should be looking to get on the scoreboard first as frequently as possible.

"I still think we could be a little bit better," Hertl said after Sunday's win. "This was one of our better games but we have to work."

Surely, the Sharks want that work to carry over into their next game -- a Wednesday night matchup against the Hurricanes. In addition to being tied for second place in the Eastern Conference, Carolina is 4-0-0 this season when scoring the first goal. 

San Jose has the advantage of getting practice time in before Wednesday's game, whereas the Hurricanes will be playing the tail end of a back-to-back -- just like the Flames were the last time the Sharks took the ice. 

[RELATED: How Sorensen, Simek are progressing in return to Sharks]

If the Sharks can score the first goal again on Wednesday, they'll greatly improve their chances of notching a three-game win streak.

How Sharks' Marcus Sorensen, Radim Simek are progressing from injuries

How Sharks' Marcus Sorensen, Radim Simek are progressing from injuries

The Sharks haven't lost since adding Patrick Marleau to their lineup last Thursday, and they could get another boost on the wing Wednesday. 

Marcus Sorensen fully participated in Tuesday's practice, skating with Joe Thornton and Barclay Goodrow on San Jose's third line, according to reporters in attendance. Sorensen could play Wednesday night against the surging Carolina Hurricanes. 

Sorensen missed the Sharks' last three games with an upper-body injury. The Swedish winger left San Jose's Oct. 5 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in the second period after crashing into the end boards. 

The 27-year-old scored a career-high 30 points (17 goals, 13 assists) last season, primarily playing alongside veteran center Joe Thornton on the Sharks' third line. The pair played fewer than 250 5-on-5 minutes without one another, and San Jose outscored opponents 36-30 with the two on the ice, according to Natural Stat Trick. 

The Sharks have only scored 13 goals in six games this season, so Sorensen's return -- on top of Marleau's integration into the lineup -- should help San Jose's offense. The team also entered Tuesday tied for fifth in goals against (22), but it might be a little longer before they receive a corresponding boost on the blue line. 

[RELATED: Marleau thanks Sharks fans for such a warm welcome back]

Defenseman Radim Simek, who remains on injured reserve and has yet to return to the Sharks lineup after undergoing knee surgery in March, skated after practice with fellow injured blue-liner Dalton Prout on Tuesday. General manager Doug Wilson told reporters via a team spokesperson that Simek has not experienced a setback, but is not practicing with the team in order to focus on the areas he needs to address in his rehab. It's possible Simek rejoins the team ahead of their five-game road trip beginning in Buffalo against the Sabres on Oct. 22.

The Sharks compiled a 29-9-3 record with Simek in the lineup last season, and San Jose allowed lower rates of shot attempts, shots and chances with the Czech defenseman on the ice at 5-on-5 than when he wasn't. Including the playoffs and the start of this season, the Sharks are just 15-21-1 in Simek's absence.