Sharks Eliminated from Playoffs
April 24, 2017
The San Jose Sharks’ run for Lord Stanley is over.
A year after making their first trip to the Stanley Cup Final, the Sharks’ season comes to an end in the first round of the playoffs.
The reigning Western Conference champions lost Game 6 on Saturday night against the Edmonton Oilers, losing the series four games to two.
Patrick Marleau got the Sharks on the scoreboard with 7:48 left in the third period to cut the Oilers’ lead, but they were unable to do much more.
Goals from Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl and Anton Slepyshev in the second period, in addition to Connor McDavid’s empty net goal late in the third period, secured the win for Edmonton to advance to the next round.
After last year’s longest playoff run in franchise history, this postseason was stopped short much sooner than most expected.
“Everyone talked about getting to the finals the year before and how tough the next year is, and you always think you can be the team to buck that,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said to Mercury News. “It’s hard. It’s a grind. I’m not prepared to take inventory on what went wrong, but my gut feeling is we ran out of some gas here in the last month.”
For some players, they had a longer season than usual, due to participating in the World Cup of Hockey (WCH) before the season started.
Towards the end of the regular season, Joe Thornton and Logan Couture suffered injuries that ultimately rolled over into the playoffs. Couture was able to start the series against the Oilers, but Thornton didn’t start until Game 3.
"We had some guys who had heroic courage in playing in this series,” DeBoer said. “I won’t get into the details of the injuries, but there’s some men in there that I’m amazed found a way to get out on the ice.”
In addition to Thornton and Couture, Marleau played with a broken thumb and Tomas Hertl played with a broken foot.
The Oilers will face the Anaheim Ducks in the second round.
Now that the season is over, what happens next?
Marleau, along with Thornton, might have played their final game in a Sharks uniform. Both of them become unrestricted free agents on July 1.
Both Marleau and Thornton have played 12 seasons as Sharks, with no NHL titles – despite three trips to the conference finals and one to the Stanley Cup Finals. Does this mean it’s time for both of them to move on? Or just keep one of them?
In the mix of all this, the Sharks also have to negotiate upcoming contract extension offers with younger veterans such as Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
The Sharks have exclusive rights to negotiate with Thornton and Marleau until then. Only time will tell if the fan favorites will move on or stay in San Jose.