Sharks

Sharks lost Game 3 to Vegas for a simple reason: 'We didn't do enough'

Sharks lost Game 3 to Vegas for a simple reason: 'We didn't do enough'

Occasionally in the face of defeat, a team might try to take some positives out of its performance. But positives were hard for the Sharks to find Sunday night in their 6-3 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.

A few different things can be blamed for the Sharks falling behind two games to one in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoff series. Overall, San Jose just didn't play a good enough game, from matching up against Vegas' stealthy Mark Stone-led line to playing on its heels from 16 seconds into the game.

"We didn't do enough to win tonight," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer deadpanned when he addressed the media after the Game 3 loss.

Tough starts have plagued San Jose against Vegas, and Sunday's game showcased the worst of that bad habit.

Vegas scored goals at the 16-second mark in the first period, the 21-second mark of the second and the 36-second mark of the third, making them just the second team in NHL history with markers in the first minute of all three periods in a playoff game. With those three goals, the Knights now have scored five of their 11 in the series within the first five minutes of periods.

Darin Stephens, NBC Sports Bay Area's truck statistician, pointed out that Stone's first-period goal was the quickest the Sharks have allowed in their playoff history. Per the NHL Public Relations Twitter account, the Knights now are the 13th team in NHL history and the third in the last 30 years to score in the opening minute of consecutive playoff games.

"It wasn't just the first, it was each period here tonight," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said. "We need better play out of all of us. Bottom line."

Stone, who recorded his first career NHL hat trick in Game 3, easily has been Vegas' best player through the first three games of this first-round series. His line with Paul Stastny and Max Pacioretty has been positively lethal, and it scored all six of the Knights' goals Sunday.

The line was first matched up against San Jose's Logan Couture-led top unit, then against other combos throughout the evening. Couture criticized his own line for allowing the Stone line to find second and third opportunities. When DeBoer was asked about it, the coach admitted he still hadn't found a key to shutting down that line.

"They've eaten us up here this series -- we haven't had an answer for them," DeBoer candidly said during his post-game press conference. "What do they do well? Well, you've got three really good players who are playing at a really high level right now. That's part of the issue. We've got to find a way to slow those guys down."

As for finding a line that could match Stone and Co.'s intensity, DeBoer admitted the whole team needs to step up in that regard.

"I don't think we had enough participants playing at a high enough level," he said, before adding: "One thing about our group is that they don't quit. So, that's something we can hang our hat on. But we didn't do enough to win tonight. We weren't good enough across the board to win tonight."

[RELATED: Kane, Reaves finally drop the gloves in Game 3]

The Sharks face the prospect of being booted from the playoffs by Vegas for a second year in a row. Granted, the series is just three games old, and Team Teal will have an opportunity to even things up in Game 4 on Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena.

They'll need a much better performance across the board, however, if that's going to happen.

NHL free agency: Erik Karlsson thanks Sharks in possible goodbye tweet

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AP

NHL free agency: Erik Karlsson thanks Sharks in possible goodbye tweet

The Erik Karlsson era could be coming to an end after only one season in San Jose. 

Karlsson becomes a free agent at the end of Stanley Cup Final. The Sharks' star defenseman sent a thank you note to the team's fans and the whole Bay Area on Friday. 

San Jose acquired Karlsson, who turns 29 on May 31, from the Senators for four players and two draft picks on Sept. 13, 2018. The two-time Norris Trophy award winner was named to his fourth straight NHL All-Star Game in his first season as a Shark. 

Karlsson played in 53 regular-season games this year, his lowest since the 2012-13 season. He tallied 45 points -- three goals, 42 assists. 

Injuries, however, played a large role in Karlsson's season. He missed 27 of the Sharks' final 33 regular-season games with various ailments. And he missed the Sharks' season-ending Game 6 loss to the Blues in the Western Conference final.

[RELATED: Karlsson expected to be pursued by Rangers]

Karlsson is expected to be pursued by multiple teams this offseason, including the Sharks. But he could have just said his last goodbye to The Tank and all its fans in San Jose.

Sharks take high road when discussing controversial calls in playoffs

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USATSI

Sharks take high road when discussing controversial calls in playoffs

SAN JOSE – Officiating became a very hot topic during the Sharks' postseason run – whether it was for calls that went in their favor or against them.

With their run at the Stanley Cup now over, Team Teal has more of an opportunity to reflect on some of those calls.

During exit interviews Thursday, the general attitude was that the refs are doing the best they can in the middle of an extremely fast sport.

“They’ve got a tough job to do,” Logan Couture said. “Growing up my dad was a referee. He ref’d lacrosse and hockey and I got to see firsthand that it’s not an easy job.”

San Jose became the focal point of scrutiny during the Western Conference final after Erik Karlsson scored a game-winning goal in Game 3 that appeared to be set up with a hand pass from Timo Meier.

After a major penalty set the Sharks up to score four power-play goals in Game 7 of their first-round series against the Golden Knights. and a too-many-men call swung play in the Sharks' favor against the Colorado Avalanche, the lack of a call on Meier prompted a few outlets to call the Sharks lucky. (Which led to a prickly reaction from head coach Peter DeBoer.)

Couture insisted luck or favor from the officials has nothing to do with it.

“They’re not trying to pick sides or screw anyone on the ice,” Couture continued. “They’re trying to do their job to the best of their abilities. I think we’re fortunate our league we have some very good officials – some really, really good guys. They’re doing the best they can and I think they’re doing a good job.”

What the team would like to see, however, is some consistency. Tomas Hertl was sidelined for Game 6 against the Blues after being hit in the head by Ivan Barbashev – a hit that received no in-game penalty or discipline from the league. Hertl said he thought Barabshev might’ve received discipline for hitting him in the head, but acknowledged the refs' job is a difficult one.

“For sure on the ice its always tough for the ref because the game is so fast,” Hertl said of the hit to his head. “It’s quick. Sometimes in playoffs they just let it go.”

The Sharks aren’t the only team whose postseason run was peppered with controversial officiating. But the high profile nature of the Western Conference final put several on-ice calls in the spotlight, especially with regards to San Jose’s players being hit in the head. This has brought up questions as to whether the league will make changes in the offseason. 

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson didn’t comment on exact calls when he spoke with the press during exit interviews. He did say, however, that he’s open to having those discussions.

“I’m on the competition committee, so I get the opportunity to speak on things like that,” Wilson said. “There are calls you’re going to like, calls you’re not going to like. Difficult job, officiating in this league. It’s our job to give them the tools they need to be the best they can be.”

[RELATED: Sharks emerge from playoff run with lengthy injury list]

How the competition committee talks shake out is anyone’s guess. Although, Wilson is expecting open and insightful discussions.

“Once we get to meetings, I like listening and hearing other people’s opinions,” Wilson said. “But I like to hear from officials who have to make those decisions on the ice, what they may need. We’re trying to do what’s right for the game. Whatever that is, we’ll discuss before any decision gets made.”