San Jose fights for its postseason life at home at 7:30 p.m. PT on Saturday night at SAP Center as the Sharks find themselves down 3-2 in the first round against Edmonton. The Oilers came from behind to win 4-3 in overtime on Thursday to put the Sharks on the brink of elimination and San Jose looked gassed by the time David Desharnais’ shot hit the back of the net.
So we’ll find out if the Sharks have anything left in the tank when they return home after a not-so-promising performance in game five. Yes, the Sharks rallied from an early deficit to lead by as much as 3-1, but the Oilers controlled possession throughout the contest. Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun were sieves, as was Logan Couture and San Jose never controlled the game.
With the exception of the first few minutes of the third period, it was all Edmonton for the end of the game. If that’s an indicator of what’s to come in game six, Martin Jones will have to be even better than he’s already been in this series. That’s a tall order, as the San Jose netminder has been nothing short of spectacular (.9569 even-strength save percentage).
Joe Thornton played better than just about anyone on the Sharks (a low bar) but it’s clear he’s not playing at 100 percent. That’s even more true for Couture, who just doesn’t have the ability to play close to the level he’s accustomed to due to his injuries. Combine that with what I’m assuming is fatigue after a long couple of seasons and this San Jose team looks to be out of fuel.
Still, the Sharks obviously played very well at home in game four and used last change to their advantage. If they can stave off elimination tonight and turn game seven into a coin flip they can survive this series to face Anaheim. Hold onto your butts.