Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 5-4 OT Game 3 win over Blues


Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 5-4 OT Game 3 win over Blues


At this point in the playoffs, it's pretty safe to say the Sharks know how to keep things interesting. After coughing up a lead with a mid-game meltdown, Logan Couture added to his impressive postseason campaign with a game-tying goal with 61 seconds left in regulation. In overtime, Erik Karlsson buried a controversial goal in overtime to give Team Teal a 5-4 victory and a 2-1 series lead.

Here are three takeaways from Game 3:

Second-stanza meltdown

In the first period of Game 3, the Sharks had the perfect response to their Game 2 loss. They got depth scoring from Joe Thornton and Erik Karlsson and remained unfazed by St. Louis' big hits.The second period was a whole other story though -- sloppy play in the neutral zone and a lack of forecheck resulted in three unanswered goals and a 4-3 lead for the Blues.

Why the Sharks came so undone isn't entirely clear. But that meltdown is something San Jose absolutely has to stop doing if they're going to win this series. The defensive breakdown made Martin Jones' job harder than it had to be and put all the momentum in St. Louis favor. (More on that coming up.) San Jose is going to have a hard time winning games if they keep letting up like that every night.

How'd the line shakeup go?

The big talk for the Sharks heading into Game 3 was that head coach Peter DeBoer was shaking up his forward lines in an effort to get more participants into the game. For the first 25 or so minutes of the game, the changes worked -- adding Melker Karlsson to Joe Thornton's wing got the third line going and Thornton found the back of the net twice.

For the rest of the second period, as we already discussed, the wheels flew off pretty quickly and no line looked particularly good.

It was no big surprise DeBoer threw the lines into the blender for the third period.

But the Sharks don't just need their bottom six to start producing, they need all lines contributing at this point in the postseason. San Jose's top line, before Couture's late-game goal, didn't have an impact in Game 3 when the team needed them. The Tomas Hertl-led second line with Evander Kane and Joe Pavelski had a few looks in the game, but had trouble generating much against Ryan O'Reilly's line. San Jose isn't going to have much success going forward if they can't get multiple lines going every night.

Stick taps for Martin Jones

Admittedly, the three unanswered goals Jones gave up on the blocker side in the second frame weren't good. But Jones went into the third frame fully rejuvenated and made a couple big stops to keep San Jose in the game. Stopping David Perron from notching a hat trick in the third frame visibly helped inject some confidence into his teammates.

Nevertheless, the Sharks should have given Jones more help throughout Wednesday's game to keep the Blues from making that big push in the second 20 minutes. St. Louis has shown they're a team that doesn't go away and knows how to take full advantage of their opponents' mistakes.

In Game 4, San Jose's defensive effort will have to be better.

Sharks issue qualifying offers to Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and five others


Sharks issue qualifying offers to Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and five others

The Sharks took their first step towards re-signing restricted free agents Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc.

San Jose issued qualifying offers to Meier, Labanc, Dylan Gambrell, Antti Suomela and three others on Tuesday. That means the Sharks retain their rights as restricted free agents, and would be entitled to compensation if any of the seven players signed an offer sheet with another team. 

Now comes the hard part. The Sharks, who have just over $14.8 million in salary-cap space according to Cap Friendly, risk losing forwards Joe Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi and Gustav Nyquist as unrestricted free agents. Retaining all three and re-signing Meier, Labanc and Gambrell will be difficult if not impossible, even if the restricted trio sign bridge contracts. 

Meanwhile, the Sharks didn't issue qualifying offers to seven other restricted free agents. Defenseman Joakim Ryan and forward Rourke Chartier headline the group, all of whom can become unrestricted free agents. Tuesday marked the deadline for teams to issue qualifying offers to RFAs, which would ensure they would receive compensation in the unlikely event of an offer sheet. Now, the Sharks won't receive any compensation should Chartier or Ryan sign elsewhere. 

Ryan, 26, played in 44 regular-season games last year as rookie blueliner Radim Simek seized a spot among the Sharks' top six defensemen. While Ryan didn't play between Jan. 23 and March 13, Simek's season-ending knee injury allowed Ryan to draw back into the lineup from mid-March onward. He suited up for every Stanley Cup playoff game, but played the fewest minutes per game of any of the team's defensemen (8:41) during the postseason. 

With fellow left-handed defensemen Mario Ferraro (2017 second-round pick), Jacob Middleton (made his NHL debut last year) and Tony Sund (35 points in 60 games in Finland last year) still on their entry-level contracts for next season, it's conceivable Ryan has played his last game in teal.

[RELATED: Can cap-strapped Sharks afford to keep Donskoi?]

Chartier, 23, made the team out of training camp and scored his first NHL goal on Oct. 28. He returned to the AHL's San Jose Barracuda for good on Jan. 13, but did not suit up after Feb. 22. Sommer told reporters shortly after that Chartier had "upper-body issues," and the forward was concussed twice in the previous season. 

It's possible that Ryan and/or Chartier re-signs. A year ago Tuesday, the Sharks did not issue a qualifying offer to defenseman Dylan DeMelo. San Jose re-signed DeMelo on July 7, before including him in the package to acquire defenseman Erik Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators. 

Sharks hilariously troll Golden Knights, others with schedule release


Sharks hilariously troll Golden Knights, others with schedule release

The Sharks released their schedule for the 2019-20 season Tuesday morning, and whoever came up with the idea for the way in which it would be displayed on Twitter deserves a raise. Maybe two.

It was that good.

Alongside each of the 82 game dates listed in a was a song pairing someway related to the opponent for that particular matchup. Some titles were simply "dad joke" humor. Others were more savage with their intent.

And they didn't save the best for last.

Nope, the Sharks came out guns a blazing and didn't hold back. Their first two games of the 2019-20 season are against their new-ish rivals in the Vegas Golden Knights, whom San Jose eliminated in a wildly memorable seven-game first-round Stanley Cup playoff series. You might recall that in order to do so, the Sharks had to not only overcome a three-games-to-one series deficit, but also scored not one, not two, not three -- but FOUR! -- goals on a single power play in the third period of the decisive game.

It was quite possibly the greatest single-game comeback in NHL postseason history. As such, it's a rather painful memory for the Golden Knights, and the Sharks, well, didn't waste an opportunity to rub it in.

The first song title listed: "The Kill" by Thirty Seconds to Mars.

The second song title listed? "4 minutes" by Madonna.

The theme continued with the other two Sharks-Golden Knights matchups on the schedule. For their third encounter on Nov. 21, they chose "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba ("I get knocked down, but I get up again"). For the fourth and final meeting: "Bad Blood" by Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar.

The Sharks' sense of humor wasn't limited to their matchups with the Golden Knights, however. A scan of the playlist will reveal several hilarious pairings, many of which don't pull any punches.

For instance, "Welcome to the 60s" for a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have not won a Stanley Cup since 1967.

"If I Could Turn Back Time" for a matchup with the longtime rival Los Angeles Kings, who have not won a playoff game since 2016. 

"Bills, Bills, Bills" for the first game against the Ottawa Senators. Gee, I wonder what that could be in reference to?

[RELATED: Why Karlsson skipped free agency to re-sign with Sharks]

You get the point. Now give that person a raise.