Pete DeBoer thinks too much was made of the Sharks’ late-season slide that cost them first place in the Pacific Division.
It was just a “bit of a stumble,” according to the head coach. Nothing too serious.
Certainly, it was no reason to believe that San Jose couldn’t go on another deep playoff run.
“I mean, I’ve heard people say we were bad for two months. That’s totally ludicrous,” DeBoer said Thursday, the day after his team took a 1-0 series lead on the Oilers.
“We lost three or four games in regulation in a 25-game span between January and mid-March. And then we hit mid-March and we had injuries to (Melker) Karlsson, (Marc-Edouard) Vlasic and (Logan) Couture, a bunch of different guys.
“Yes, our game slipped a little bit, and we had a bit of a stumble. But it was two and a half weeks. It wasn’t two months. I always knew we would get it back, and we did.”
The Sharks did finish the regular season with three wins out of four. That being said, they looked to be in tough after last night’s first period in Edmonton. Connor McDavid and the Oilers had a 2-0 lead, and the crowd at Rogers Place was in a frenzy.
It was at that point the defending Western Conference champs took over. The Sharks ended up outshooting the Oilers, 34-9, the rest of the way. They won the game, 3-2, in overtime, grabbing home-ice advantage in the series.
“From the second period on, we had control of that game,” Couture told reporters afterwards. “It was just a matter of time before the puck was going to go in.”
Game 2 goes Friday in Edmonton.
And with Games 3 and 4 in San Jose, the pressure’s squarely on the Oilers to avoid a 2-0 deficit.