After benefitting from several controversial calls this postseason, Peter DeBoer didn’t like that his people were calling his team lucky. But the Sharks coach may be hoping that luck hasn't completely abandoned his team.
San Jose was dominated in a 5–0 Game 5 loss to the Blues, but even more concerning was the number of significant players who were injured. Erik Karlsson, Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl all went to the locker room early. Joonas Donskoi left in the third after taking a puck to the mouth, but returned in the final minutes of the game.
Karlsson ended Game 4 in a lot of pain after seemingly aggravating a groin injury, but played more than seven minutes in the first period on Sunday. He was caught on camera several times wincing and played just three minutes in the second period. He wasn’t on the bench at all in the third. Hertl—who took a hit to the head from Ivan Barbashev in the first—was also missing from the bench at the start of the third. Pavelski joined them shortly after the third started, taking a big hit from Alex Pietrangelo in the opening minutes of the final frame.
Lost in the sea of battered Sharks was Jaden Schwartz’s hat trick, his second of the playoffs. Schwartz now has 12 goals this postseason, passing his regular-season total of 11.
The game got off to a rough start for Karlsson, who had an errant pass bounce right to Oskar Sundqvist for a one-timer to get the scoring started. Another misplay early in the second period proved costly when Martin Jones poke checked a shot straight to Schwartz’s stick to easily score his first goal of the game. Vladimir Tarasenko was granted a penalty shot a few minutes later after Brent Burns tripped him up on a breakaway chance. Tarasenko didn’t do anything fancy, but his quick shot glove side proved too lethal for Jones.
Schwartz scored early in the third period on a two-man advantage when Barclay Goodrow and Michael Haley were each handed minor penalties. Later on, Haley was given a game misconduct for going after Pietrangelo. There was a point midway through the period when just eight Sharks players sat on the bench, as five were in the locker room and two in the penalty box. Schwartz scored his final goal with less than four minutes left.
Whether DeBoer believes in luck or not, it appears as though his might be running out. The Sharks will look to recover in St. Louis on Tuesday to force a Game 7 for the third straight series, but they could be without several important players. Even if those injured on Sunday are good enough to play on Tuesday, it’s very likely that they won't be at 100%.
Meanwhile, the Game 5 victory gave rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington his first shutout of the postseason and improved the Blues' record on the road to 7-2 this postseason. St. Louis is now just a win away from its first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1970, with the Bruins being its foe then as well.