Sharks Cs Thornton, Couture day to day heading into playoffs

Paola Ditto
Aprile 22, 2017

"The only word that comes to mind about the San Jose Sharks the last two months is hibernation", said former Shark Bret Hedican on NBC Sports after the game. It was a dominant performance by the Oilers and particularly by Kassian, a fourth-line winger who drove the net effectively and delivered bone-jarring hits on the Sharks' Brenden Dillon and Logan Couture.

If Thornton plays on Friday, that should be a huge lift for the Sharks. Why would they be? That's a playoff mystery, but certainly works to the Oilers' advantage. These two teams have some history.

Connor McDavid, who was one of a handful of Oilers who were making their playoff debuts, had a breakaway chance stopped by goalie Martin Jones.

On the other side of the ice, Edmonton is looking for a much better game from their team on Friday. Edmonton made it all the way to the Cup Final before succumbing to the Carolina Hurricanes.

"As a group we wanted to have a good bounce-back game", said Kassian.

The Sharks and Edmonton were teams headed in opposite directions heading into the playoffs.

So, of course the Oilers' first playoff series of the McLellan Era would feature the San Jose Sharks as the opposition. The Sharks looked terrible at the end of the season. The Sharks won three out of four to close the season, but that came after a stretch that saw San Jose lose eight of nine and slide from first to third in the Pacific Division. Seems pretty clear to me. But the Sharks aren't healthy and they aren't hot. McDavid has been brilliant with Four goals and four assists in fives game against the Sharks.

Veteran Joe Thornton missed the last week of the season with a knee issue, and after Tuesday's practice said he feels confident, but he is still listed as day-to-day. My heart wants to hope for the best but my head says to expect the worst.

San Jose is +900 to win the West.

It won't be easy, but the Sharks can win this series.

San Jose's 82-game preseason has concluded with the real season about to start.

"Nothing changes", defenseman Justin Braun said. Good news is the Sharks defense is deep and they have the edge in experience.

Puck management, shift lengths and discipline were all hot topics for the Oilers on Thursday, all mistakes they feel are easily correctable. The Sharks are 15-6 in the last 21 meetings in Edmonton, 26-12 in the last 38 meetings and the over is 3-1-3 in the last 7 meetings. "The guys who kill (the penalty) are wasting a lot of energy and the guys who aren't are sitting on the bench. When you don't have the puck you're not going to get many shots on goal". In his last seven playoff games going back to last season, Hertl has three goals and three assists for six points and a plus-three rating. "Now we've got to go home and play really well at home". The Sharks scorers can not let him get inside their head.

Talbot made 41 saves while Jones stopped 17 pucks. Just brush it off and try, try again. However, you can't teach playoff experience. It is vital for them to avoid penalties, especially against San Jose, which has an arsenal of weapons on special teams. That is magnified by the possibility of life without playoff heroes Couture and Thornton.

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