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WCF Game 5: Sharks pushed to the brink
Home ice provides no advantage for SJ in 5-0 loss
5/19/19 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks returned home with a chance to regain the lead in their Western Conference Finals series with the St Louis Blues, and flat our whiffed. Early mistakes and mounting injuries allowed the Blues to smack the Sharks with a 5-0 shutout in the Sharks barn. By virtue of the loss, the Sharks now sit one loss from elimination and a flurry of injuries in the game make their long term outlook questionable.

San Jose missed on early chances, then made some back breaking error, which led to three Blues goals. The most glaring injury is Erik Karlsson's groin, which seemed broken from the opening puck drop. Karlsson was a shell of himself, unable to generate the speed required to stop opposing defenders. The decision to even include him in the lineup was suspect given his performance in Game 4 last Friday.

Karlsson attempted to clear the Sharks zone and move the puck up the left wing boards, a weak attempt was intercepted by Oskar Sunqvist. Karlsson then made the mistake of screening Martin Jones, allowing Sundqvist to rip a shot that alluded the Sharks netminder for a 1-0 Blues lead.

San Jose dominated the opening 20 minutes, out-shooting the Blues 11-4, but the inability to capitalize on the momentum was magnified when the Sharks allowed a power play off a Jay Bouwmeester delay of game penalty to go wasted. Special teams play has been one of the most disappointing aspects of the Sharks game, and it cost them the last two games.

Evander Kane played arguably his best game of the series, but finding the back of the net still eludes him. That almost changed in the first 10 seconds of the game when he took a drop pass from Tomas Hertl and ripped a shot that caught the crossbar. The Sharks forward also missed on a deflection later that hit the post as he sat at the top of the crease.

That would be the way things went for San Jose in Game 5. They controlled the tempo early, then folded after the ice tilted. Jones simplified things for the Blues when he redirected a shot to an area that he thought was safely unoccupied. Jones missed the fact that Jaden Schwartz was lurking on the right side of the net, and served it up the Blues forward on a silver platter. All Schwartz had to do was tap the gift into a wide open net for the 2-0 lead, just 3 minutes into the 2nd period.

Injuries started to mount when Ivan Barbashev caught Hertl with a shoulder to the Shark winger's head. Hertl spun to the ice clutching his head, but all four on-ice officials turned a blind eye to the hit. Hertl would miss most of the 3rd period as he was assessed for a concussion.

Karlsson's injury was further magnified at 6:53 of the period when Vladimir Tarasenko raced past Karlsson, forcing Brent Burns to trip the Blues on a breakaway chance. Tarasenko was awarded a penalty shot, which he promptly buried for the 3-0 lead.

Joonas Donskoi was called for a high sticking double minor at 10:43, to put the Sharks in a hole, but Tyler Bozak was called for hooking 30 seconds into the Blues 4 minute power play. That helped the Sharks avoid further damage, but it stole valuable minutes as they tried to chip away at the Blues three goal lead.

The Sharks locker room turned into an infirmary. Joe Pavelski likely aggravated his concussion issues with Alex Pietrangelo hit him up high as he was standing in front of the penalty box glass. Once again, a head shot went unpenalized, adding further confusion to what the player safety objectives of the league are.

Donskoi was caught by friendly fire, when Justin Braun tried lifting a puck from his end line, hitting Donskoi in the face. The Sharks forward left the ice with a face fool of blood, but he would return in the 3rd period.

Referees Steve Kozari and Kelly Sutherland decided that this would not follow suit on stowing their whistles in a playoff game, as is typically the norm in the playoffs. Not only did they bust out their whistles, but they called simultaneous penalties on the Sharks. They sent Micheal Haley and Barclay Goodrow off for interference and roughing respectively 1:55 into the 3rd period, ensuring that the Sharks would not mount any form of a comeback.

Schwartz converted on the ensuing 5-on-3 when he swatted at a loose puck in front of Jones, chipping it over the Sharks goaltender for the 4-0 lead.

Haley was destined to take matters into his own hands given the score and Kozari and Sutherland's lack of action when it came to head shots. He went after Peitrangelo, who managed to escape scott free, with Haley being tossed for unsportsmanlike conduct and a 10 minute misconduct.

Schwartz capped the hat trick with a one time chance from the right side at 16:02, snapping a Tarasenko feed that traversed through the crease from the left point.

Kane was sent to the showers after he was called for goaltender interference, slashing and a 10 minute misconduct. By the time the smoke cleared, the Sharks only had 11 players on the bench to finish the game.

Now the question is, who is going to be physically ready to play in Game 6? Hertl and Pavelski are likely dealing with concussion issues and Karlsson's groin is clearly an issue. Game Notes:

* The game marked the 26th time the Sharks have been shutout in the playoffs, and third time this playoff season. It was the 8th time they were shutout on home ice.

* The margin of defeat was the largest in the playoffs when shutout. The previous high was a 4-0 loss to the Kings in 2014.

* Jaden Schwartz hat trick was the 7th time that has occurred in the playoffs against the Sharks, and 2nd time this playoff season.

* Vladimir Tarasenko's penalty shot goal was the 2nd allowed in the playoffs in the Sharks history. The only other occurrence came in 2002, when Mike Johnson scored for the Phoenix Coyotes.

* Five Shark forwards did not register a shot on goal. No player had more than 3 shots on goal in the game for San Jose. The defense accounted for 9 of the Sharks 21 shots.

* Martin Jones goals against average has ballooned to 2.96, which ranks 15th in the playoffs. His save percentage sits at a mediocre .902, which ranks 17 in the playoffs.


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1 2 3 T
STL 1 2 2 5
SJ 0 0 0 0
1st period - 1, STL, Sundqvist 4 (unassisted), 5:50.
2nd period - 2, STL, Schwartz 10 (unassisted), 3:05. 3, STL, Tarasenko (penalty shot), 6:53.
3rd period - 4, STL, Schwartz 11 (Perron, Terasenko), 2:19, (pp). 5. STL, Schwartz 12 (Tarasenko, Schenn), 16:02.
1st period - Bouwmeester, STL (delay of game - puck over glass), 15:18.
2nd period - Burns, SJ (tripping - penalty shot), 6:53; Donskoi, SJ (high stick - double minor), 10:43; Bozak, STL (hooking), 11:23.
3rd period - Goodrow, SJ (roughing), 1:55; Haley, SJ (interference), 1:55; Haley, SJ (unsportsmanlike conduct), 7:13; Haley, SJ (10 min misconduct), 7:13; Meier, SJ (tripping), 8:35; Edmundson, STL (slashing), 13:12; Kane, SJ (goaltender interference), 17:13; ; Kane, SJ (slashing), 17:13; Kane, SJ (10 min misconduct), 17:13.
Shots Saves
STL - Binnington 21 21
SJ - Jones 40 35
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
STL 4 20 16 40
SJ 11 6 4 21
Power Play Conversion
STL 1 of 8
SJ 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Jaden Schwartz
Vladimir Tarasenko
Jordan Binnington
SAP Center - 17,562
Referees: Kozari, Sutherland. Linesmen: Knorr, Racicot.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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