San Jose coach Peter DeBoer thought the start of Game 1 would tell which team was better prepared after more than a week off since wrapping up first-round playoff sweeps.
“I don’t know how (that first period is going to look),” he said prior to the Western Conference semifinal series opener against the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. “We’ll just have to see. It’s hard as a player because you just can’t mimic game speed and game situations as much as you try to. Everyone’s got a different plan. We tried to stay in the rhythm of playing every night with our practices, but it’s just not the same. I think in these situations, the smarter team usually has an advantage, the team that recognizes the situation and doesn’t try to do too much.
“Hopefully that will be us.”
The Sharks were out of it not long after the final note of the national anthem. It only got worse during a 7-0 loss, which equaled the margin in a 9-2 defeat against Calgary in 1995 for the biggest playoff loss in franchise history.
If this score holds, it will be the Sharks' worst loss in team's playoff history. In 1995, Detroit blanked San Jose 6-0 in WC semis.
— Steve Carp (@stevecarprj) April 27, 2018
Martin Jones, the star of the sweep over Anaheim and a run to the Stanley Cup Finals two years ago, allowed four goals on the first seven shots he saw and was pulled after allowing a fifth early in the second period.
Jones had surrendered only four goals on 132 shots in four games of the first round.
“We haven’t played in a week,” DeBoer said. “I didn’t want him coming out (early in the first period). He needs some action. To be honest with you, he couldn’t do much on those goals. That was on us as a group. I wanted to give him enough time to be ready for Saturday, but at the same time not have to stand in there and get embarrassed.”
His teammates weren’t helping much, either.
Jonathan Marchessault’s first-period goal came after a bad turnover in the neutral zone and Alex Tuch split all four defenders to score the last of the first-period goals on a power play.
“We need to get off to a better start,” said forward Logan Couture, who led San Jose with six shots. “You can’t fall behind that quickly. We had some breakdowns in our own end, a lot of turnovers in the neutral zone. We knew going in you can’t turn the puck over against them because they’re such a quick transition team, but it’s exactly what we did.”
San Jose was never in the game after the four early goals.
“When you start chasing that early, it’s really tough,” Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said. “We’re usually able to stop the bleeding when that happens. We obviously didn’t tonight. They made a few plays. For us, when we get caught like that, it’s not a defensive issue or a forward issue, it’s a little bit of everything
“The good thing is, you don’t get extra points in the series for winning by seven.”
That’s fortunate for the Sharks, who will look to regroup after a Game 1 wakeup call.
“I don’t think the gap is what the scoreboard said tonight. I think we’re all smart enough to know that,” DeBoer said. “There’s no doubt turnovers were an issue, but we had a laundry list of issues tonight. It obviously wasn’t pretty and we know we have to do better across the board.
“We have to be better. That’s the message they sent and we have to respond to that.”
Kane game misconduct
Evander Kane downplayed a hit on Pierre-Edouard Bellemare that resulted in a third-period ejection. Kane was given a five-minute major for cross-checking Bellemare near his face and a game misconduct.
Evander Kane received a 5-min. major for this high cross-check. pic.twitter.com/ECjQMQep1C
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) April 27, 2018
“I’m not a dirty player by any means,” Kane said. “Obviously, it was just unfortunate. I went into a scrum and kind of just cross-checked him there in the arm, as you saw. Unfortunately, he kind of rolled up a second time and extended his arm there. Obviously, there was no intent. I’m glad he wasn’t hurt. It was good to see him back on the ice. I obviously don’t want to put my team in that situation. We’ll just put this one behind us and get ready for the next game.”
He declined comment on whether he feels he should be suspended for Game 2.