Sharks disappointed they fell into same Game 2 trap in loss vs. Blues

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SAN JOSE -- It’s hard not to notice that the Sharks have dropped the second game of all three playoff series during their current postseason run. It isn’t lost on the players, either.

“It’s kind of like the last series,” Logan Couture told the press after San Jose dropped Game 2 to the St. Louis Blues on Monday. “Play a decently good game and then play -- in my opinion, (tonight) was nowhere near what we’re capable of.”

No surprise that Couture, who scored both of the Sharks goals on the evening, was critical of how the team played collectively. Because that was also coach Peter DeBoer’s biggest takeaway from the 4-2 loss -- the Sharks didn’t get enough contributions from different parts of their lineup.

“I think the story of the game was that we didn’t have enough participants across the board,” DeBoer said. “I thought Logan Couture was pretty good, a couple other guys. But it’s tough to win this time of year if you don’t have everybody going.”

It’s a disappointing turn of events for the Sharks, who knew the Blues would push back hard after being defeated by San Jose 6-3 in Game 1. From the drop of the puck in Game 2, the Sharks didn’t have the same zip they had in the previous contest. They found themselves in a 2-0 hole early in the second period because of it, before Couture found the back of the net twice in a two-minute span.

Couture didn’t think it was enough to rally the troops, however. “Even scoring those two goals, I thought we still didn’t show that we had the energy to compete,” he said. “Just two goals got us tied in a game where didn’t deserve to be tied in a game.”

San Jose did appear to get some energy from Couture’s two goals in the second period, but let up just before the second intermission, as St. Louis took a 3-2 lead. Then in the third frame, the Sharks didn’t register a shot on goal until over halfway through the period.

“I think we let off the gas pedal, I think,” Labanc said of the third period. “Gave them a little too much room to make plays and they just kept sticking around.”

Stick around the Blues did and scored another goal late in the final frame, improving to 6-2 on the road during the playoffs, where they have outscored their opponents 13-3 in third periods alone. DeBoer pointed out St. Louis deserved kudos for that. 

“You have to give them some credit, I think they had a hell of a game,” DeBoer suggested. “I thought they had good legs, they defended hard, they made it tough on us and we didn’t work through that enough to create offense. If you’re not going to work for offense this time of year, you’re not going to get any.”

The end result was, yes, another Game 2 loss. Although, as Joe Pavelski pointed out, any game lost at this point in the playoffs is going to be disappointing.

“It’s always discouraging to drop a game. One, two, three, four, five, whatever it is,” the captain said. “We knew they would be better and we just weren’t good enough. Bottom line.”

Now, the Sharks will yet again hit the road for Games 3 and 4 with the series knotted up at one win apiece. The focus shifts, again, to how to rebound in the enemy’s barn and not play as they did in Game 2.

“It’s still fine, but we have to be better, we can’t play like that,” Tomas Hertl said.

DeBoer agreed. “We’ve been here before and we know how to handle this.”

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