The San Jose Sharks’ chances of coming back from a 3-1 series deficit against the Pittsburgh Penguins are slim and it’s especially hard to see how they can turn it around unless their best players step up.
Enter Joe Pavelski, who has no points and a minus-three rating in the Stanley Cup Final after being a key figure in getting them this far.
“I thought that last game was his best game,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said of Pavelski. “He’s close to breaking out here for us.”
DeBoer also dismissed the notion that the responsibilities of being the team captain have prevented Pavelski from playing his game when everything they’ve worked for is on the line. Meanwhile, despite his personal struggles and the Sharks’ situation, Pavelski presented an air of optimism Wednesday.
“We’re still right here,” Pavelski said. “If we can find a way to win this game, it definitely breathes a little more life into us. This group has always had a lot of fun playing, regardless of the situation. We think we’ve still got a push.”
Pavelski also suggested that they need a little better start, which has been a recurring theme for them in this series. Now they’re almost out of time to change that.
Still, despite Pittsburgh winning three of four games, the final score in each of them hasn’t been big. If one thing goes right for the Sharks in Game 5 that hasn’t earlier in the series, that might be enough to tip the scales. Like, for example, Pavelski breaking out.