Sharks like their defense even without Vlasic

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The San Jose Sharks going without Marc-Edouard Vlasic in most of Game 5 and all of Game 6 could be viewed as a contributing reason as to why they’re in a Game 7 against the Los Angeles Kings tonight.

Vlasic was replaced by Matt Irwin in Game 6 and the Sharks were pleased with how the defensive corps played in spite of Vlasic’s absence as Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea.com shares.

I thought we moved the puck well,” Jason Demers said. “We have a very special group on D … Matt came in and did a great job. Everyone kind of stepped up. We didn’t get the win, but there were a lot of positives on the defensive side for us, which we’re going to have to build on [Wednesday].”

Sharks coach Todd McLellan didn’t offer much of an update on Vlasic’s status on Tuesday and if he can’t go, it’ll likely be Irwin who draws in again. Losing Vlasic is no small problem as he’s been San Jose’s top blue liner this season and has been their go-to guy for matching up against opponents’ top players.

It’s no coincidence that Anze Kopitar found a bit more freedom in Game 6 without Vlasic there to match up against him. If anything, being on home ice could help the Sharks from a match up standpoint as McLellan will get the guys he wants out against the Kings best players.