And just like that, the Sharks are done, venturing into an offseason with the fastest playoff out in team history. San Jose fell in five games to the St. Louis Blues. A Sharks team had never gone out in the first round in as few as five games.
A fitting conclusion? Absolutely, especially considering how the team struggled down the stretch even to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs, and how much trouble they had with the defensive-minded Blues.
Counting the regular season, the Sharks went 1-8 against the Blues, who surrendered only 12 goals in those nine games and just eight in the five-game series.
“It’s just a terrible feeling right now,” captain Joe Thornton said. “We pushed hard, and just came out on the short end of the stick this time. But it sucks. This is the best time to play, and to go out like this ... it just is very frustrating.”
The Blues were better in all aspects, but special teams stick out. St. Louis managed six power-play goals and allowed the Sharks only two. St. Louis was better 5-on-5 — it was faster, more physical, more disciplined, received better goaltending and was stifling on defense.
Only four forwards scored goals — Thornton and Martin Havlat with two each, Logan Couture and Andrew Desjardins with one apiece. Scorers Joe Pavelski, Ryane Clowe and Patrick Marleau were shut out.
“A lot of this was St. Louis,” coach Todd McLellan said. “They gave up 165 goals. In the last four years, the only team close to that was Vancouver with 185. They are stifling. They just are just defensively stifling.”
NHL Team Report - San Jose Sharks - NOTES, QUOTES
—F Joe Pavelski has been voted by his teammates as the club’s nominee for the NHL’s King Clancy Memorial Trophy, awarded annually “to the player in the league who best exemplifies leadership qualities both on-and off-the-ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.” Pavelski, 27, is in his sixth NHL season. A leader on and off the ice, Pavelski has set the bar with his tireless off-ice commitments to the community. Assisting the Sharks Foundation, which offers unique resources and financial support to organizations that enhance the lives of the local youth, Pavelski has participated in many community events over the course of the 2011-12 season. This is the second straight King Clancy Memorial Trophy nomination for Pavelski.
—The Sharks signed teenage D Dylan DeMelo to an entry-level contract. DeMelo, 18, recently completed his third season for Mississauga in the Ontario Hockey League, where he ranked seventh among OHL defensemen in points (47) and tied for fourth in assists (40) in 67 games played. After Mississauga was eliminated from the postseason, DeMelo played four games for Worcester in the American Hockey League, posting one assist. In 2010-11, DeMelo helped lead Mississauga to the Memorial Cup Finals, where they were defeated by Saint John. DeMelo contributed 27 points (three goals, 24 assists) in 67 regular-season games and added one goal and four assists in 20 postseason games. The 6-foot, 200-pound native of London, Ontario, was originally drafted in 2011 by San Jose in the sixth round (179th overall).
QUOTE TO NOTE: “The way the game went, it looked like we were on our heels early, which we kind of figured because they were going to come out with a lot of energy with the crowd behind them. We got through that, we started to play better toward the end of the first period and most of the second, and the first part of the third, and then right before they scored, I could sense we were back on our heels again, playing a defensive shift.” — Coach Todd McLellan, on the critical turning point midway through the third period of Game 5.
NHL Team Report - San Jose Sharks - ROSTER REPORT
—C Patrick Marleau capped a terrible playoff series with no points and two shots in goal in Game 5.
—F Joe Pavelski scored a career-high 30 goals in the regular season and didn’t manage any goals or even a point in the five-game playoff series against the Blues. “Completely unacceptable,” Pavelski said. “I had my share of chances, and it just didn’t happen. It can’t happen like that.”
—G Antti Niemi is 2-5 all-time in Game 5’s, losing each of his last four starts in a Game 5.
—Dan Boyle, Marc-Edouard Vlasic
—Brent Burns, Douglas Murray
—Justin Braun, Colin White
—LW Logan Couture, C Joe Thornton, RW Joe Pavelski
—LW Ryane Clowe, C Patrick Marleau, RW Martin Havlat
—LW Daniel Winnik, C Michal Handzus, RW Torrey Mitchell
—C Andrew Desjardins, RW Tommy Wingels