SAN JOSE -- The Sharks are plenty excited to have Erik Karlsson back in the lineup as they faceoff against the Golden Knights for the third time in less than a week.
But head coach Peter DeBoer made it very clear after Friday's morning skate that having Karlsson back wasn't going to completely erase San Jose's dismal performance 48 hours earlier.
"He makes a huge difference. But having said that, if we don't play better than we did last game, two Erik Karlssons won't help us win," DeBoer said. "He's going to help, but we've got to be better as a group."
San Jose wasn't at their best in Wednesday's season debut. To have a chance of winning the rematch on Friday night, the team is going to have to pick up the pieces and move on.
Part of that process starts with the veteran players leading the way.
"As a team, we need to play a lot better," captain Logan Couture said. "Move past the way we played -- veterans, rookies, second-year guys. Everyone needs to be better and I think that starts with us older guys. If we play better, the younger guys will follow."
While the team maintains the majority of its veteran core from previous seasons, they also have fresh faces in the mix with rookies Lean Bergmann, Danil Yurtaykin, and Mario Ferraro all set to make their home debut for the Sharks. The opponent, on the other hand, is rolling out an almost identical lineup to last season. And the difficulty in beating them is ever-present.
"They (Vegas) is a veteran team, they don't make mistakes," DeBoer said. "They don't beat themselves, they make you pay when you do make a mistake. We have to breakout better, we have to forecheck better, our special teams have to be better. Across the board."
This isn't to say the Sharks are completely doomed heading into Friday's contest. As Timo Meier explained, tough losses like the one the Sharks suffered on Wednesday are good for building the team up.
"Those are the games that are going to make us better," No. 28 said. "We have another one tonight. It's going to be a tight one. A hard one. We're prepared."
It doesn't hurt that the team will be on home ice, where they have historically played well -- like in their comeback victory against the same Golden Knights last April.
But that's enough of dwelling on the past. If the Sharks are going to play better Friday than they did a couple of days ago, they have to keep looking forward.
"We've got to learn from the mistakes we made in the first game and move on," Meier said. "Today's a new day."