Sharks

Sharks teammates seek to give Martin Jones more protection in goal

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USATSI

Sharks teammates seek to give Martin Jones more protection in goal

If there’s one area of the ice where the Sharks have fielded the most criticism so far this season, it has been between the pipes. 

Truthfully, Martin Jones’ critics have been scrutinizing him since before the regular season even started. After a 4-3 loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, they were taking to social media yet again to voice their opinions on a performance that earned him a collective 2.84 goals-against average and a .893 save percentage on the season.

Jones’ teammates, however, maintain their unwavering confidence in him. In fact, they’re insisting they need to do more in front of the goal to help him out.

“Jones gave us a good chance to stay in it,” Joe Thornton said after the loss in Dallas. “There were a couple breakaways, a couple two-on-ones that we would like to clean up.”

Jones did in fact stymie a couple late-game attempts that could’ve given the Stars a much bigger lead. With the contest knotted up 3-3, Jones stopped breakaway opportunities by Dallas stars Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin to preserve the tie. Those stops were all but forgotten halfway through the final frame, though, when the puck bounced to Devin Shore’s stick and he was able to roof it past Jones’ stick-side block to give the Stars the 4-3 lead.

“You can always do more,” Joe Pavelski told the media when asked about giving the goalie more help. “One thing we’ve looked at is our shot-blocking. We can be a little more desperate, I think, in our d-zone.”

The captain’s right. Blocking more shots would certainly behoove the Sharks, who regularly don’t block as many shots as their opponents. In the loss against Dallas, San Jose had 11 blocked shots at even strength compared to the opposition’s 18 blocked shots.

In their game a week ago against the Philadelphia Flyers – which the Sharks narrowly won in overtime – San Jose registered six blocked shots at even strength to Philly’s 16. In the 4-1 loss against the Blue Jackets on November 1, Columbus posted 30 blocked shots on the evening while San Jose only posted four blocked shots.

Upping the level of desperation – a word we’ve heard quite a bit so far this season—in San Jose’s d-zone would help as well. Being more physical in knocking opposing offenses off the puck can help break up the grade-A chances San Jose’s opponents are taking advantage of. The Sharks are, after all, only averaging 16.4 hits a game, ranking them 27th overall in the league.

This isn’t to say Martin Jones is completely without fault. There have been a handful of goals this season the netminder probably, for lack of a less overused term, would like to have back. Nevertheless, his teammates are identifying ways they need to help him out as well. 

“We don’t have any questions in our goaltending,” Pavelski said. “Tonight, (Jones) was great for us, and we came up short.”

Sharks vs Blues Game 5 watch guide: Projected lines and defensive pairs

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USATSI

Sharks vs Blues Game 5 watch guide: Projected lines and defensive pairs

SAN JOSE – After splitting the first four games of their best-of-seven series, the Sharks return home for a Sunday matinee against the Blues in Game 5 of the Western Conference final. 

After tallying a controversial overtime win in Game 3, Team Teal got into an early two-goal hole in Game 4 and was unable to bounce back, falling 2-1. Tomas Hertl tallied the Sharks' lone goal on the evening during a third-period power play, while Martin Jones made 20 saves.

The Sharks are 18-18 all-time in Game 5 situations and 12-6 at SAP Center.

Here are both teams’ projected lines and defensive pairings.

Sharks projected lines and pairs

Timo Meier - Logan Couture - Gustav Nyquist
Evander Kane - Tomas Hertl - Joe Pavelski
Melker Karlsson - Joe Thornton - Kevin Labanc
Marcus Sorensen - Barclay Goodrow - Joonas Donskoi

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon - Erik Karlsson
Joakim Ryan - Justin Braun

Martin Jones - projected starter
Aaron Dell

[RELATED: No injury update on Karlsson]

Blues projected lines and pairs

Jaden Schwartz - Brayden Schenn - Vladimir Tarasenko
Sammy Blais - Ryan O'Reilly - David Perron
Patrick Maroon - Tyler Bozak - Robert Thomas
Ivan Barbashev - Oskar Sundqvist - Alex Steen

Joel Edmundson - Alex Pietrangelo
Jay Bouwmeester - Colton Parayko
Carl Gunnarsson – Robert Bortuzzo

Jordan Binnington - projected starter
Jake Allen

Sharks vs. Blues live stream: How to watch NHL playoffs Game 5 online

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AP

Sharks vs. Blues live stream: How to watch NHL playoffs Game 5 online

The Sharks have yet to lose consecutive home games during their current playoff run. They'll attempt to keep that streak going when they host the Blues in Game 5 of the Western Conference final in San Jose on Sunday.

The Sharks are coming off a 2-1 loss to St. Louis in Game 4 on Friday, and lost 4-2 the last time they faced the Blues at SAP Center back in Game 2. The series is now tied at two games apiece and has been played extremely evenly. The Sharks have scored 14 goals to St. Louis' 13.

The Sharks are 18-18 all-time in Game 5 situations and 12-6 at SAP Center.

[RELATED: No Karlsson injury update ahead of Sharks-Blues Game 5]

The puck drops for Game 5 at noon PT/3 p.m. ET, so don't linger at brunch.

Here's how to watch Game 5 between the Sharks and Blues on TV and streaming live online, as well as pregame and postgame coverage on NBC Sports California Plus.

When: Noon PT on Sunday, May 19, on NBC (Sharks Playoff Live starts at 11 a.m. on NBC Sports California Plus)
Live Stream: NBC Sports appfuboTV -- Try a free trial (MyTeams by NBC Sports app for pregame/postgame)