SAN JOSE -- It isn’t entirely clear what it is about the Sharks in the second games of playoff series this postseason. Despite an incredible effort by Logan Couture to tie the game up in the second period, San Jose dropped Game 2 of the Western Conference final 4-2 to the St. Louis Blues.
Here are three takeaways from Game 2:
St. Louis had the depth scoring
While the Blues got on the board in the first frame thanks to their top line, they also got depth contributions from Vince Dunn, Robert Bortuzzo, and Oskar Sundqvist. That's the kind of contribution the Sharks could benefit from getting more of in this series.
Outside of Kevin Labanc’s goal in Game 1, San Jose’s big guns have been carrying the offense so far through this series. If they’re going to knock the Blues out of the playoffs, they need to get contributions from more than just their top six.
The penalty kill kept it close
San Jose could’ve been in a much deeper hole in Game 2 had their kill not brought its A-game. Even before Couture scored a short-handed goal in the second period, the kill was generating offense and causing St. Louis’ power play fits.
Credit has to be given to Melker Karlsson and Joonas Donskoi in particular for their work in Game 2. Killing penalties isn’t exactly the most glamorous job on the ice, but it has been a big key to San Jose’s success in the latter part of these playoffs. There’s no doubt the Sharks would prefer to just play a very clean game, but at least they have a solid penalty kill to rely on.
Couture keeps on rolling
Before the start of Game 2, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was asked what makes Couture so effective in the playoffs. DeBoer confessed he didn’t know, adding that there are just, “guys in the history of the game that have that ability.” That ability was on premium display in the second period of Monday’s game when Couture dug the Sharks out of a two-goal hole by scoring twice in a span of 1:59 to tie things up 2-2.
Couture’s response is something the rest of his teammates need to feed off of. The Sharks have been really good at responding to adversity thus far, and that’s something they will need to do as they head on the road with the series tied 1-1.