The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down each day’s matchups with the all-important television and live streaming information included.
The San Jose Sharks have been here before.
In Round 1 against the Vegas Golden Knights, the Sharks faced elimination in three straight games after falling behind 3-1 in that series. They rallied, of course, including a 2-1 overtime win in Game 6 in hostile territory at T-Mobile Arena.
“We’re still alive,” said playoff leading scorer Logan Couture. “We’ve been in this spot before, going to Vegas down 3-2 in a very difficult building. St. Louis is similar, it’s a tough building against a good team. A structured team. We scored one goal in the last two games, that’s not going to cut it. We’re not doing enough around their net or creating enough opportunities on second chances.”
It may sound a tad odd, but the Sharks may have the Blues exactly where they want them ahead of a pivotal Game 6 matchup on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN; live stream).
San Jose is a dreadful 0-6 when leading a series this postseason but is 10-3 when trailing or tied, including a perfect 4-0 record when facing elimination. We probably shouldn’t get this twisted — the Sharks tempting their own demise isn’t exactly ideal. But if anyone thinks the Sharks are dead in the water, their record speaks for itself.
And if you’re the superstitious-type, the Sharks lost 5-0 to the Golden Knights in Game 4 of Round 1 to be put on the verge golf-course duty and then never lost again in that series.
“We’ve been here before,” Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer said. “Had to go on the road and win in Vegas in order to get to a Game 7. You’re never comfortable when your back’s against the wall like that, but we have been here before and found a way and I’m confident we can do that again.”
[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]
To “do that again” the Sharks will have to overcome their 3-5 record on the road in the postseason (St. Louis is 4-5 at home, conversely). More importantly, however, they may have to do it with some of their best stuck in the infirmary.
Erik Karlsson did what he could in Game 5, but could only play 10:32 with a groin injury that he aggravated in Game 4. With the way Game 5 went, and with the type of injury Karlsson has, resting him was the right choice but it’s still to be determined whether EK65 can do much — or anything — in Game 6.
Tomas Hertl took a hit to the head from Ivan Barbashev in the first period of Game 5 — one that went uncalled — and missed the entirety of the third period. His status, too, is up in the air.
And then there’s captain Joe Pavelski, who was hit by Alex Pietrangelo in the later stages of the third and he, too, left the game.
DeBoer offered no updates on the status of three of his best players on Monday, and we may not really know the status of the trio until pre-game line rushes.
Martin Jones didn’t have his best game last time out but has been a rock when the Sharks have faced elimination.
- Round 1 Game 5: 30 saves on 32 shots
- Round 1 Game 6: 58 saves on 59 shots
- Round 1 Game 7: 34 saves on 38 shots
- Round 2 Game 7: 27 saves on 29 shots
This all adds up to a 4-0 record with a 1.87 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage when the pressure is on.MORE: Stanley Cup Final 2019 schedule, TV info
Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck