SAN JOSE -- You might’ve had a feeling that Sunday’s game would be a doozy when Evander Kane rang the puck off the goal post just 10 seconds into it. But it’s unlikely anybody was prepared for how badly the Sharks would be outmuscled and out-chanced as they fell 5-0 to the Blues in Game 5 of the Western Conference final.
The Sharks now trail three games to two in the best-of-seven series, with a potentially decisive Game 6 scheduled for Tuesday night in St. Louis.
Here are three takeaways from Game 5 at SAP Center.
Another second period to forget
One of the Sharks' biggest complaints about their own game has been that they don’t play a solid 60 minutes. Even when they won Game 3 in overtime, they criticized themselves for giving up the lead in the second period. But they couldn't have played much worse in the second period of Game 5.
In addition to being outshot 20-6, the Sharks continued to move sloppily through the neutral zone and turn pucks over, making their job even more difficult. They were pushed around by the Blues for the entire 20 minutes.
The Karlsson Effect
Erik Karlsson plays a huge role for the Sharks, both offensively and defensively. The Sharks defenseman's absence definitely was felt when he skated for just 3 minutes and 3 seconds in the second period, then didn’t come out at all for the third.
Simply put, a healthy Karlsson makes San Jose better. And with Karlsson off the ice, the Sharks couldn't stop the push from the Blues' offense.
San Jose has preached a “next man up” message since the start of the regular season, and coach Peter DeBoer has called for more players to step up. That effort wasn’t there Sunday, which is worrisome because …
The injuries are piling up
As if Karlsson not taking the ice in the third period was enough of a concern, the Sharks lost even more bodies. Tomas Hertl didn’t see any playing time in the third period, and Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi both exited the game after sustaining injuries.
Without knowing right away how healthy any of those players are, there’s immediate wonder if the Sharks will be short some key players for Game 6. Will Tim Heed pencil into the lineup for Karlsson? Will Lukas Radil or Dylan Gambrell be part of San Jose’s offense?
The Sharks have played through bumps and bruises for most of their lengthy playoff run. But how many more of those bumps and bruises can they take and still be successful?