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Karlsson, Pavelski injured for Sharks in Game 5 loss to Blues

Defenseman doesn't play final period; forward hit by Pietrangelo in third

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / NHL.com Senior Director of Editorial

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks had four players injured, including defenseman Erik Karlsson and captain Joe Pavelski, during a 5-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final at SAP Center on Sunday.

The Blues, who have won the past two games, lead the best-of-7 series 3-2. Game 6 is Tuesday at Enterprise Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS). The Blues will advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1970 with a victory.

Neither Karlsson nor forward Tomas Hertl played in the third period. Pavelski was injured on his first shift of the third after a hit from Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. Forward Joonas Donskoi was hit with a puck on a clearing attempt and missed almost 12 minutes in the third before returning for the final four minutes of the game.

 

[RELATED: Complete Sharks vs. Blues series coverage]

 

San Jose coach Pete DeBoer said he had no updates on any of the injured players.

The Sharks were trailing 3-0 when Karlsson and Hertl exited.

"You don't want to make excuses, but some pretty key guys that are going down, some offensive guys that when you're playing from behind like that it's tough to push the pace," said Brenden Dillon, Karlsson's usual defense partner. "We had a couple chances on the power play to kind of get some traction and some looks, but I think at the end of the day we need to kind of ramp up our level instead of go the other way."

Video: STL@SJS, Gm5: Pavelski exits Game 5 after injury

The biggest loss was Karlsson, who played 10:32 in the first two periods, but was clearly laboring even when he did play. Karlsson has 16 points (two goals, 14 assists) in 19 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Karlsson has been dealing with various lower-body injuries for much of the season and was on the bench for the majority of the third period of Game 4 on Friday, a 2-1 loss. He did not play in 27 of the Sharks' final 33 regular-season games but has not missed a game in the playoffs. He was averaging 25:32 time on ice per game before Game 5, second on the Sharks to defenseman Brent Burns (28:46).

Despite his reduced role in Game 4, he was in the lineup for Game 5 and before the game DeBoer said there were no issues.

"Hindsight is 20/20, you know," DeBoer said after the game. "We make those decisions based on the reports we get from the player and the medical [staff]. The report was that he felt he could play and get through the game. It's easy to sit here and say now, 'Yeah, sure you have regrets.'"

A turnover by Karlsson led to the first goal. Karlsson skated the puck to his own goal line and pivoted to pass to Dillon. The pass went off the boards and ended up on the stick of Oskar Sundqvist, who one-timed the puck past goalie Martin Jones, who was screened by Karlsson, at 5:50 of the first period.

"Just kind of an errant pass, just bounced off the wall and the guy was fortunate to tee one up like that," Dillon said.

The Sharks are 4-0 in elimination games, including three wins against the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round. Possibly without some key players, San Jose has to win consecutive games to make the Cup Final for the first time since 2016.

"We're still alive," Sharks forward Logan Couture said. "We've been in this spot before, going to Vegas down 3-2 in a very difficult building. St. Louis is similar, it's a tough building against a good team. A structured team. We scored one goal in the last two games, that's not going to cut it. We're not doing enough around their net or creating enough opportunities on second chances."

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