The Sharks have a tough task ahead of trying to fend off elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs in Game 6 of their first-round series with the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday. San Jose coach Peter DeBoer told reporters in Las Vegas before the game that his team isn't the only one to face adversity trailing 3-2 in a best-of-seven series.
But how the Sharks respond to that adversity -- whether it be mounting injuries or breakdowns against a hot Vegas offense -- that could be the difference in forcing a Game 7 or not.
"I think that's going on in every dressing room with every team playing right now," he said when asked if San Jose's injury woes through the first five contests give them any more of an edge. "I don't think we're at an advantage because we have more of it."
There also is, of course, the matter of the Sharks playing this potentially decisive game at T-Mobile Arena, which already has a reputation as one of the NHL's toughest barns in its second season. The Sharks have certainly had their fair share of trouble there, particularly in the Games 3 and 4 of this series. But as DeBoer reminded the press, the Sharks haven't always been down on their luck in Sin City.
"We've won in here before," DeBoer said. "We won in here in the playoffs last year, we won in here in the regular season this year."
San Jose's bench boss added that his team's home isn't exactly easy for opponents to play in, either.
"I think it's the same as them coming into our building," he said. "You've got to deal with the momentum swings and the crowd getting into it, and the push we're going to see right off the bat."
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Scoring the first goal Sunday will be critical for both teams. The Sharks have won both games in which they scored first, but have all lost all three when the Golden Knights did -- as early as 16 seconds into the game.
"The first goal is obviously important," DeBoer said. "If we don't get it, then how we respond to that is going to be critical."
At the end of the night, the Sharks' response to adversity could be the difference between winning or losing against a tough Vegas squad.
"You're down to the best of the best, and you're seeing around the league that anybody can beat anybody," DeBoer said. "You need depth, you need health, you need goaltending. It's a battle of attrition and we have to find a way here."