LAS VEGAS -- Peter DeBoer called the San Jose Sharks' third period against the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday "window dressing."
In other words, after a 5-3 loss, the coach wasn't making too much of a third-period rally when San Jose score three straight goals after falling behind 4-0 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round at T-Mobile Arena.
The Golden Knights lead the best-of-7 series 3-2. Game 6 is at San Jose on Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS). Vegas would advance to the Western Conference Final with a win.
[WATCH: All Sharks vs. Golden Knights Game 5 highlights | Complete Golden Knights vs. Sharks series coverage]
"We have to play harder for longer stretches than we did tonight," DeBoer said. "That's why we lost."
His players weren't trotting out the hollow clichés about moral victories either.
"We just can't play the last 10 minutes and hope we score four goals in the last 10 minutes," Sharks forward Tomas Hertl said.
Hertl was one of three Sharks who scored in the third period. Kevin Labanc pulled San Jose within 4-1 when he scored on the power play at 9:35. Hertl made it 4-2 at 11:44, and Mikkel Boedker made it 4-3 four minutes later.
The festive atmosphere in the arena was put on hold until Jonathan Marchessault scored into an empty net with 1:21 remaining to give Vegas a 5-3 lead.
Video: SJS@VGK, Gm5: Boedker scores amid scramble in front
The Sharks had pulled goalie Aaron Dell for an extra attacker. Dell replaced starter Martin Jones at 8:36 of the third period after Vegas forward Alex Tuch made it 4-0. Jones made 27 saves.
"The first 40 minutes, we got nothing," Hertl said.
It was especially confounding for the Sharks because they felt as though they had shed some of the bad habits that surfaced in Game 1, a 7-0 loss.
"The last three games, we played great," Hertl said. "We didn't turn a puck (over), we played quick, they didn't have too many chances. Today, we started like the first game. We lost every battle in the neutral zone."
This has been a series with virtually no momentum from game to game. The teams have alternated wins.
Video: SJS@VGK, Gm5: Labanc, Couture combine for nifty PPG
Vegas' 29 victories at home in the regular season were tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for third in the NHL, behind the Winnipeg Jets (32) and Pittsburgh Penguins (30).
"You guys see these guys' regular-season record," DeBoer said. "That's not an accident. They're very good at home. Thirty teams tried to figure that out this year, and no one had success. We have to go back (home), win a game, and then find a way in Game 7."
First off, they have to figure out a way to get a better start in Game 6. The line of Hertl, Logan Couture and Boedker was the most effective for the Sharks in Game 5. Couture had three assists, and Hertl and Boedker each had a goal and assist.
But again, the offense came too late.
"I don't what is the issue, but we have to be ready," Hertl said. "It's not over yet. We have a home game and we have to take it and start right away. I believe we come back for Game 7."
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