Sharks

Timo Meier's growth as power forward on display in Sharks' Game 1 win

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Timo Meier's growth as power forward on display in Sharks' Game 1 win

SAN JOSE - You can't talk about the Sharks' win in Game 1 of the Western Conference final without talking about Timo Meier.

His two goals. His physical play. Everything about his game stood out Saturday. 

The best-of-seven series between the Sharks and St. Louis Blues promises to be a mix of both skill and force -- two elements that Meier showcased simultaneously In Game 1. But this performance wasn't a one-off or a rare occurrence. 

Even through slumps in the regular season, the 22-year-old winger continued along his trajectory. Now, he's grown into the power forward who can help the Sharks on a long playoff run.

"He’s a great player, for one," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said after his team's 6-3 win at SAP Center. "I mean, we took him in the top 10 in the draft, so you know you’ve got talent."

The Swiss forward has certainly come a long way since the Sharks selected him with the ninth overall pick in the loaded 2015 NHL Draft -- the same year the Edmonton Oilers drafted Connor McDavid No. 1 overall. Instead of being thrown right into the NHL mix, Meier spent another year with his junior club in the 2015-16 season, and logged some time with the AHL Barracuda before getting his first look with the Sharks the following year.

He bounced back and forth between the AHL and NHL in 2016-17, and was even scratched early in his second professional season last year. But through it all, Meier has developed and found his game.

Meier broke out for 66 points (30 goals, 36 assists) during the regular season, and now has 13 (five goals, eight assists) in 15 games this postseason. According to DeBoer, Meier's development has been as planned.

"I think power forwards take longer, especially physical guys," DeBoer said. "I think those guys take a little longer to have success at the NHL level, learning how to use that physicality and still use their skill. So I think he’s right on track."

There was no better example of Meier's emergence as a power forward than on his first goal Saturday. With the Sharks holding onto a 3-2 lead midway through the second period, Meier pounced on a loose puck in the offensive zone and then muscled his way around Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to beat netminder Jordan Binnington with a back-hand shot. 

"He was a bull," Logan Couture said of his linemate. "You saw the talent on the one where he was able to walk around the d-man and finish. He’s a really good player. He’s coming into his own right now.”

Meier's second goal was a bit more fortunate, but still impressive. From behind the goal line, Meier banked a puck off of Blues defenseman Vince Dunn's left skate and past Binnington to give the Sharks a 5-2 lead. 

"I knew the goalie was moving, and the defenseman was coming at me, so I just tried to play with the luck a little bit there and get it right in front," Meier said. " ... It's nice to get a goal like that, where you had some other chances you where you maybe thought it should've went in. It's nice to get one like that, and a big goal to get some separation."

[RELATED: Dillon breaks down biggest difference between Blues, Avs]

The Blues are going to have a hard time stopping the Sharks in this series if Meier builds on his Game 1 performance. As a young player in the midst of the best postseason campaign of his professional career, Meier is proving to be a staple in the Sharks' ever-improving offensive arsenal.

"Now he’s arrived, and it’s the real deal,” DeBoer said.

Sharks' Joe Pavelski, Erik Karlsson leave Game 5 vs. Blues with injuries

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Sharks' Joe Pavelski, Erik Karlsson leave Game 5 vs. Blues with injuries

Sunday's Game 5 against the Blues went from bad to worse for the Sharks.

After falling behind 3-0 through two periods in their Western Conference final tilt at SAP Center, Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson was not on the bench to begin the third period. The star blueliner missed the majority of the third period in Game 4, but he was in the lineup for Game 5 despite being noticeably affected by his injury.

The third period went from bad to worse as Joe Pavelski took a hit from Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo along the boards. He left the ice and went straight to the dressing room.

 

Shortly after Pavelski left the ice, the Blues lit the lamp again to make it 4-0.

[RELATED: Blues' fourth line giving Sharks issues]

San Jose later lost forward Joonas Donskoi after he took a puck to the side of the head.

The Sharks will have to regroup for what will be a do-or-die Game 6 in St. Louis.

Erik Karlsson in, Marcus Sorensen scratched for Sharks-Blues Game 5

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Erik Karlsson in, Marcus Sorensen scratched for Sharks-Blues Game 5

SAN JOSE – Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer told the press on Sunday morning there would be some “game-time decisions” regarding San Jose’s lineup for Game 5 of the Western Conference final against the St. Louis Blues. But the lineup change probably wasn't what many viewers were anticipating.

Forward Marcus Sorensen was scratched from the lineup and did not participate in pregame warmups. Sorensen penciled into the lineup for Game 4 after being scratched for Micheal Haley in the previous contest.

Sorensen has five points (0 goals, five assists) through 17 games played during these playoffs.

There was initially speculation ahead of Game 5 that Sorensen’s fellow countryman Erik Karlsson was questionable to be in the lineup for Game 5. Karlsson stayed on the bench for the majority of the third period in Game 4, raising questions as to whether he would be healthy enough to play in Sunday’s game.

DeBoer penciled Karlsson in to start alongside usual blueline partner Brenden Dillon.