Toughness of Joe Pavelski, Timo Meier on display in Sharks' Game 1 win

Toughness of Joe Pavelski, Timo Meier on display in Sharks' Game 1 win

SAN JOSE -- There was a streak of dried blood under Timo Meier’s chin when he spoke to the press after the Sharks’ 5-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday. The battle scar was evidence of when the stick of Vegas defenseman Jon Merrill caught the Swiss forward in the face with mere moments left in the first frame. Meier immediately bent over and grabbed his face, then headed straight to the dressing room before the period expired. But then, he took the ice at the start of the second frame, all stitched up as if nothing had happened. 

“it’s physical out there, sticks are coming up high, that’s the kind of stuff that happens in the playoffs,” Meier said cool as a cucumber following the victory. “Nothing that bothers me.”

Meier was one of two Sharks who exited the first period with a facial injury, the other being Joe Pavelski, who scored the opening goal of the game off his lip and didn’t return to the bench until partway through the second stanza with a visor covering his face. Losing two top-liners could have really put the Sharks in a tough spot. Seeing two key pieces of the lineup exit with injuries so early in a playoff series can really do a number on a team’s mental wherewithal. 

But the Sharks didn’t sag, and rallied behind their two injured teammates to take Game 1, 5-2.

“I think we earned that one, so that’s a good feeling,” Pavelski said to the press through a swollen lip and a mouth missing a couple of teeth. “We got what we needed as far as commitment.”

Meier agreed. “I think the big part is that everybody chipped in. We played a solid team game, all four lines were on tonight. Defensively, we didn’t give them much. That’s the way we have to play.”

Meier was especially complimentary of Pavelski and how the captain came back into the game. “He’s a tough guy coming back from that,” Meier complimented. “That’s playoff hockey character for him, coming out like that and playing a solid game.”

[RELATED: Watch Pavelski give Sharks the lead with goal off his face]

Head coach Peter DeBoer also, unsurprisingly, applauded Pavelski for returning to the game despite being banged up. “Tough as nails, to take a puck to the face and not go down,” DeBoer said. “He’s a warrior.”

Neither Pavelski nor Meier wasted any time getting right back to work once they returned to the ice, with Meier skating 23 total shifts over the course of the game and Pavelski skating 21. (Their linemate Logan Couture skated 26 shifts altogether.) With the two forwards back on the ice, San Jose was better able to roll four offensive lines and march to victory.

Of course, now the focus turns to how healthy both players will be for Game 2. While he appears no worse for wear, Pavelski admitted he has to have his stitched-up mouth looked at ahead of Game 2 and will “see how they feel.” Meanwhile, San Jose still has to get ready for their next game against Vegas, which could potentially be even tougher than Game 1.

“They’re going to come out harder,” Meier said. “We have to be better than we were today, that’s the playoffs. You’ve got to always take a step after every game.”

Coming from a player who played with a couple new stitches in his face, it isn’t hard to believe the Sharks are capable of that.

Sharks' Evander Kane announces daughter's birth after 'tough journey'


Sharks' Evander Kane announces daughter's birth after 'tough journey'

Just over a year after losing their daughter during pregnancy, Sharks forward Evander Kane and his wife, Anna, welcomed another daughter into the world.

The Kanes announced the birth of their daughter, Kensington Ava, on Thursday on social media. Evander Kane said his daughter was born on July 3. 

"My wife Anna is a rockstar, the strength and love she has displayed over the last 18 months," Kane wrote on Twitter. "We want to thank everyone who has reached out during this period in support of our family and (we) appreciate the kind words throughout this journey. I'm so proud of my daughter, it's tough to put into words how much she means to me."

Kane thanked the Sharks, their fans, his friends and family "for their overwhelming love" during a difficult time. Last March, Kane announced that their daughter, Eva, passed away 26 weeks into Anna's pregnancy.

"You gave us all, especially your mom and I, something to be excited about," Kane wrote of Eva on Twitter on March 14, 2019. "And though we are devastated that you couldn't stay with us longer, your mom and I will always cherish the time we had with your beautiful soul. Your spirit will give us strength, your love will give us comfort. We will love you forever."

The Sharks, San Jose teammate Mario Ferraro and Hockey Diversity Alliance co-founder Akim Aliu all commented on Kane's Instagram post on Thursday.

Sharks' Tomas Hertl explains funny, simple reason why he wears No. 48

Sharks' Tomas Hertl explains funny, simple reason why he wears No. 48

Tomas Hertl has a huge year ahead of him. As he returns from ACL and MCL surgery, he and his wife Aneta are expecting the birth of their first child in November.

Sharks fans everywhere can't wait for No. 48 to get back on the ice. But how did he pick that number? It’s quite simple.

“They give it to me,” he wrote in a recent NHLPA questionnaire.

Enough said.

But before Hertl was the Sharks’ All-Star center, he had other aspirations.

Believe it or not, he wrote in the questionnaire that he wanted to be an architect if he wasn’t going to be a hockey player. But he was born to play hockey.

His dad, Jaroslav, during the winter in his native in Prague, would create nets (measuring the perfect size) on the frozen ponds near where he lived. Hertl’s dad would even kick off skaters if they were recreationally using the area where he wanted to play hockey.

[RELATED: Sharks avoid nightmare scenario in 2020 NHL Draft lottery]

As much as Hertl could have thrived as an architect, his career as a hockey star was destined.