Sharks takeaways: What we learned in unreal 5-4 Game 7 overtime win over Vegas

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in unreal 5-4 Game 7 overtime win over Vegas


SAN JOSE -- The Sharks' Stanley Cup playoff series with the Vegas Golden Knights was full of drama, no doubt. But there was absolutely nothing more dramatic than how Team Teal stormed back from a three-goal, third-period deficit and kept their season alive.

The Pacific Division rivals' contentious first-round series finally came to an end Tuesday night, as Barclay Goodrow scored with 1:41 left in overtime to finish the Sharks' 5-4 win in the decisive Game 7.

Here are three takeaways from the historic game at SAP Center, which will host Game 1 of the second-round series against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night. Puck drop is TBD.

Power play finally makes a huge impact

This was an area where San Jose had struggled throughout the series, and part of the reason it trailed three games to one. So when the Sharks received back-to-back opportunities early in the first period and didn’t find the back of the net, questions instantly began to arise as to whether those two missed chances would cost the Sharks in the end.

In the third period, though, the Sharks were given a five-minute power play after captain Joe Pavelski was taken out of the game by Vegas' Cody Eakins in a gruesome scene. It was exactly what the Sharks needed to get back into the game, no matter how late it was, as they scored four consecutive goals during the major penalty and briefly held a 4-3 lead.

Martin Jones write chapter in redemption story

OK, the tying goal the Sharks goalie gave up late in the third period wasn’t good at all. But you can't deny that for all the flack Jones received at the beginning of the season, boy, did he turn it around, making 34 saves in Game 7.

Jones continued his strong play from Games 5 and 6 into the last game of the series, and he easily was the Sharks' best player in the final two contests. The only thing missing was the team in front of him giving him some goal support for the majority of Game 7, which made things worse when he let in Vegas' third goal for a 3-0 deficit.

Things looked extra bleak because Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (43 saves) played a magnificent game through the majority of the evening. But that only made the Sharks' comeback even more amazing when they got four pucks past him in less than a period.

Logan Couture got angry, then got even

Yes, the whole Sharks team was upset when Pavelski had to be helped off the ice in the third period. But absolutely nobody channeled that anger into success quite like No. 39, as he scored two goals during San Jose’s massive third-period comeback.

The Sharks had many heroes during the seven-game series -- Jones turning things around late in the series, Tomas Hertl scoring the big overtime goal in Game 6, and so on. But when we look back on this series, Couture set up everything for Goodrow to have the opportunity to score in overtime.

Couture scored six games and added two assists for eight total points in the seven games against Vegas.

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer gives no update on players injured in Game 5


Sharks coach Peter DeBoer gives no update on players injured in Game 5

SAN JOSE -- Questions surrounding the health of the Sharks lineup continued on Monday as the status of three of the four players sidelined in Game 5 remains unknown.

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer offered no update on Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl, or Erik Karlsson the day after all three missed significant time in San Jose's 5-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues. DeBoer also didn't elaborate on whether the three players would travel with the team to St. Louis to play in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final. Joonas Donskoi, who was also injured on Sunday but returned to the game in the final minutes, is expected to travel.

Neither Hertl nor Karlsson even took the bench with the rest of their teammates for the third period of Sunday's game, while Pavelski exited the contest in that third frame after being hit high by Alex Pietrangelo.

The nature of Hertl's injury is unknown, although there is speculation he may have been feeling the effects of a high hit he took from Ivan Barbashev in the first period of Sunday's game. Karlsson's status to even play in Game 5 was up in the air after he appeared to aggravate an old injury in Game 4.

The Sharks became especially emotional and took some big penalties in the third period of Game 5 after Pietrangelo's hit on Pavelski, given San Jose's captain missed six games after suffering a concussion in Game 7 against the Vegas Golden Knights.

"When Pav got hit high, we lost our composure there in the third," DeBoer said after the game. "Not our finest moment, but I understand where that emotion is coming from, with what he's been through."

[RELATED: Pavelski, Karlsson leave Game 5 with injuries]

While the health of San Jose's lineup is a concern, DeBoer told the media on Monday morning he isn't worried about penciling other players in. 

"We've dealt with this before and guys have stepped in and got the job done," he told the press. "People can write us off but I know in our room we know we've got guys that can get in there and get this done."


Five observations after Sharks get blown out in Game 5 vs. Blues


Five observations after Sharks get blown out in Game 5 vs. Blues

If the Sharks are to face Boston and play for the Stanley Cup, it will necessitate a third consecutive series featuring a Game 7.  On Sunday, San Jose had the bold opportunity to seize a three-games-to-two series lead against St. Louis but fell completely flat after the first 20 minutes.

Now they face elimination, needing two wins to escape and advance. Here are the big takeaways from the Western Conference final Game 5 loss. 

Injury concerns

More concerning than the 5-0 loss is the four players San Jose lost to injury during the contest. Erik Karlsson skated only three minutes of the second period and never returned. A best logical guess is that his previous leg-related ailments have returned or worsened. Tomas Hertl absorbed an Ivan Barbashev head hit in the first period, and while he played during the second period there was no return for the third. 

Joe Pavelski was unnecessarily pinned and elbowed into the boards by Alex Pietrangelo early in the third, and immediately left the contest. Lastly, Joonas Donskoi was accidentally struck in the face by a puck that Justin Braun was trying to clear from the defensive zone in the third.  The bloodied forward made a quick exit to the dressing room. 

Facing elimination

The challenge for San Jose to adapt and be better in Game 6 while facing elimination on the road would have been enough on their plate. However, if they are forced to do without one, or two, or more of those previous four mentioned players — the task goes from difficult to dire.  

Offensive struggles

It’s been a slogan all season that the Sharks would go so far as the defense could take them. However, the offense has hit an uncharacteristic low at the most unfortunate time. San Jose has just one goal in their last six periods.

Their first 20 minutes on Sunday saw eleven shots on goal. But then, things dwindled to just six and four in the respective final two periods. Anyone looking at the final score might be concerned with the “five” allowed from Game 5, but if you’re following trends, San Jose’s “zero” is the bigger story.

Odd stats

San Jose and St. Louis have many things in common, including getting things done the hardest of possible ways.  The Blues own a 7-2 playoff record outside of Missouri, meaning they’re an unexplainable 4-5 on home ice. As for San Jose, they’ve got an 0-6 record when leading a series, but a 10-3 record when tied or trailing in these Stanley Cup Playoffs.

[RELATED: Health a huge concern to key Sharks after Game 5 loss]

Nothing easy

It’s amazing how the Sharks have never had the opportunity for a single comfortable breath in these playoffs.  The last two losses are their first in sequence since April 14 and 16 while facing Las Vegas.  This means they went more than a month without losing back-to-back games -- but now., they face elimination.

No matter how and when these playoffs conclude for San Jose, the overwhelming theme is already starting to write itself: Every step has been a grind.