Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 5-0 loss in Game 4 vs. Vegas

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 5-0 loss in Game 4 vs. Vegas


If watching the Sharks lose Game 3 for their first-round Stanley Cup playoffs series was painful for fans, watching Game 4 was just downright frustrating.

San Jose outshot and outplayed the Vegas Golden Knights for stretches Tuesday, but the Sharks now are facing elimination after a 5-0 loss in Game 4. Some lineup changes injected life into the team, but the puck did not bounce their way -- or stay out of their net. 

Here are three takeaways as the Sharks trail 3-1 in the series.

Fleury on fire

There's just no denying it. The Sharks could have had a lead over the Golden Knights at the end of the first period with how hard they were working offensively. All four of San Jose's newly-fashioned lines were pressing to find the back of the net, not showing any let-up or quit.

But Fleury, who San Jose's offense was able to frustrate so well in Game 1, just wouldn't budge. Even before he stopped Evander Kane on a breakaway chance in the second period, it was clear he was making a case for being the first star on the evening.

Fleury's defense also did their part to halt the Sharks' best attempts to get on the board. Even though San Jose did good work to keep the puck in the offensive zone and continued applying pressure, Vegas' defensive effort added to Fleury's magnificent performance by blocking 18 shots on the evening.

Even when the Sharks wre able to get around Vegas defense, they couldn't find a way to score. On the other side of the ice, however ...

No help between the pipes

Sharks fans might've been tempted to breathe a sigh of relief when goaltender Martin Jones didn't allow the first goal of the game in the first minute of the first period -- until Max Pacioretty put the Knights up 11 seconds after it ended. San Jose's offense grinded on the other end to try for the equalizer, outshooting Vegas 18-7 in the first period.

But, the Knights scored the next goal, taking a 2-0 lead into the second period. It arguably was the goal that changed the game, and it wasn't much of a surprise when Aaron Dell took over duties between the pipes starting in the second stanza.

The Sharks' defense shouldn't have allowed Shea Theodore to maneuver his way through the Sharks' zone so easily, but Jones still needed to stop the puck on that play. Sharks coach Peter DeBoer noted during the team's losses down the stretch that they weren't getting the saves they needed, and the first period of Game 4 was the perfect example of that.

Given the number of goals Jones has surrendered in the last three games -- within the first five minutes of the period or otherwise -- it goes to wonder if DeBoer decides to start Dell in net when the series returns to San Jose for Game 5 on Thursday.

[RELATED: Déjà vu all over again for Sharks to open Game 4 vs. Vegas]

Defensive effort isn't getting it done

San Jose has had the bodies to fill in for injured players, but it was evident in Game 4 they still miss Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Really, the Sharks' big defensive woes started back in Game 2 after Vlasic left after getting hit by a Shea Theodore shot.

It hasn't helped that Erik Karlsson hasn't looked healthy since Game 3, nor have the Sharks' abundance of turnovers since the series shifted Sin City. Poor puck management has given the Knights plenty of chances to capitalize, and they have done just that. 

San Jose now faces elimination Thursday when the series returns to SAP Center for Game 5, and the Sharks' defensive effort has let the team down two games in a row. If they are going to have any chance of defeating the Knights on Thursday and keeping their playoff hopes alive, their defense can't play the way it did on Tuesday in Las Vegas. There's just no other way around it.

How NHL's potential new labor deal could affect Sharks’ offseason plan

How NHL's potential new labor deal could affect Sharks’ offseason plan

The Sharks could be operating under a new NHL collective bargaining agreement soon, and it might have quite an impact on the franchise's future.

The NHL and the NHL Players Association are nearing an agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding for a new six-year labor deal that includes guidelines for the return of the 2019-20 season, TSN's Frank Seravalli reported Saturday.

The MOU must be ratified by both sides before it becomes official, but the potential deal includes some notes that surely will affect the Sharks this offseason.

For starters, it appears the league's salary cap will be frozen at $81.5 million, and remain there until the NHL's hockey-related revenue gets back to $4.8 billion, which was the initial projection for this season before the coronavirus pandemic forced a suspension of operations on March 12.

[RELATED: NHL expansion draft: Who Sharks might be forced to leave unprotected]

San Jose ended the season with around $648,000 (per in available space, and with contracts expiring for players such as Joe Thornton, Melker Karlsson and Aaron Dell, a frozen salary cap could make re-signing those the team wants to bring back difficult.

Seravalli also noted that minimum contracts will rise $50,000 for next season, increasing to $750,000. It will stay there for four years, before rising to $775,000 in 2024-25, and $800,000 in 2025-26. So, young Sharks players such as Dylan Gambrell and Stefan Noesen, who played on minimum contracts, now are in line for raises of at least $50,000 going into next season.

The Sharks will look to turn things around entering the first full season of this potential new CBA, as they just finished last in the Pacific Division with just 63 points. But it appears the new labor deal might complicate San Jose's plan in some aspects.

Sharks' Tomas Hertl, wife Aneta expecting first child due in November

Sharks' Tomas Hertl, wife Aneta expecting first child due in November

I think we’re all due for some good news. So is Sharks’ All-Star center Tomas Hertl and his wife Aneta.

Aneta announced on her Instagram account the two are expecting a baby in November.

The first photo is the two of them posing together with the sonogram picture. The second is of a baby onesie with “Born in 2020” embroidered on it.

This is fresh off the couple's one-year wedding anniversary which, rumor has it, the big day was quite a fun time.

Back in May, Hertl spoke to the media about his rehab after tearing the ACL and MCL in his right knee where he vowed he would be better than he was before. But he’ll have to wait.

[RELATED: Ranking Sharks top playoff moments in overtime]

The Sharks will not be participating in the NHL’s a modified 24-team return-to-play format.

That’s OK though, he has something even better to look forward to … a baby Shark.