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Sharks quickly shift focus after Game 4 loss to Avalanche

Regret missed opportunities but still have home-ice advantage in Western series

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

DENVER -- The San Jose Sharks were frustrated with their inability to score but had already shifted their focus to taking care of business at home after a 3-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in Game 4 of the Western Conference Second Round at Pepsi Center on Thursday.

Their opportunity to go ahead 3-1 in the best-of-7 series wasted, the Sharks instead are tied 2-2 with Game 5 at San Jose on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

"We're disappointed, for sure," goalie Martin Jones said. "It was a good opportunity for us, but it's supposed to be tough. We're 2-2 here, we've got home ice the rest of the way, so just got to take care of business next game."

 

[WATCH: Sharks vs. Avalanche Game 4 highlights | Complete series coverage]

 

The Sharks weren't unhappy with the first half of Game 4, until Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon batted in a rebound at 10:34 of the second period for a 1-0 lead.

"I thought halfway through I kind of had the feeling whoever was going to score first was probably going to win," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "They got the goal, they got the energy, they started to grab some momentum, win a few more battles than we were winning from that point on.

"I really felt the game was kind of right there, at least up until that point. Missed opportunity, but we came and got our home ice advantage back [by winning 4-2 in Game 3 on Tuesday], and we've got to go home and take care of business."

Video: Grubauer shuts out Sharks, Avalanche even series

The line centered by MacKinnon, who is tied with teammate Mikko Rantanen for the Stanley Cup Playoff scoring lead with 13 points, has presented a constant challenge for the Sharks. He's played with Gabriel Landeskog and either Rantanen or Alexander Kerfoot.

"They have the one big line there," Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson said. "They're good. They're going to create stuff. I think we keep it to a limit where we can control it but they're still going to create stuff and score goals. We've got to find a way around it.

"They still have three other lines that are going to play against guys and we need a little more. Today wasn't our best effort. But we're still right in it. We just couldn't find a way to score a goal to get some momentum going. That's the way it is sometimes. We just have to learn from it and go back to San Jose and put up a better effort next game."

One element that hurt the Sharks was their power play, which was 0-for-2 and is 1-for-10 in the series. Both opportunities in Game 4 failed to generate a shot on goal.

"We've got to get it going," DeBoer said. "It hasn't been great. We miss Joe Pavelski, but the other guys have to find a way to get it done."

Pavelski, the Sharks captain, has not played in the series after being injured in Game 7 of the first round against the Vegas Golden Knights.

"For sure, we miss him all around," forward Tomas Hertl said. "He's our leader. It's nice to always have him but, for sure, it's nice to have him on the power play because he can tip every puck and he knows where to be for the goals. We had a couple of good opportunities; we just have to handle it a little bit better."

And that will be the focus for Game 5, dealing with everything a little better. That includes being a little more opportunistic, forward Logan Couture said. Forward Gustav Nyquist, for example, was stopped by Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer on a breakaway with 20 seconds remaining in the second period.

"Seems like it's been the story of the series where we've had some good looks, we don't score, and it costs us," Couture said. "The amount of times where we've had breakaways or good looks in the slot and we don't score, and they come back, and they score soon after."

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