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Sharks fourth line comes through in Game 3 win against Ducks

Fehr, Karlsson, Sorensen help put San Jose on verge of sweep in Western series

by Lisa Dillman @reallisa / NHL.com Staff Writer

SAN JOSE -- The first words from San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer after an 8-1 victory against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round at SAP Center on Monday were about his fourth line.

That would be veteran Eric Fehr centering Melker Karlsson and Marcus Sorensen.

They combined for four points in the dismantling of the Ducks. Sorensen had a goal and an assist, Fehr scored and Karlsson had an assist to help San Jose take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. Game 4 is here Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET; GOLF, SN1, TVAS2, NBCSCA, PRIME).

 

[WATCH: All Ducks vs. Sharks Game 3 highlights | Complete Ducks vs. Sharks series coverage]

 

Not only did they show up in a meaningful way on the scoresheet, but the line has given the Ducks fits all series with their speed. 

"I thought particularly Fehr, Sorensen and Karlsson were outstanding tonight," DeBoer said. "You come into these games, and when you go on any kind of playoff runs you have to win all kinds of different ways. Different guys have to step up at different moments."

Sorensen, who has three points in three Stanley Cup Playoff games, is more than a forward with impressive speed. 

"He's one of our identity players," DeBoer said. "He's fast, plays hard. He plays whistle to whistle, doesn't get involved in unnecessary stuff. No one is going to outwork him or battle harder. Those are the kind of guys you want on your side in the playoffs."

Video: ANA@SJS, Gm3: Fehr makes nifty move to extend lead

Fehr smiled when asked about the success of the line.

"Two little fast Swedes," he said. "They're hungry for pucks. They never give up on the pucks. That's the big part of it. We fight to get it back every time we lose it."

You might say never giving up is a core belief of Fehr's.

He was acquired on Feb. 20 from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. But he hadn't been playing for the Maple Leafs or their American Hockey League affiliate. In an interesting twist, Fehr had been loaned to San Diego, the Ducks' AHL team, and was there at the time of the trade.

Fehr, 32, played 34 games for San Diego, scoring 28 points (17 goals, 11 assists), and kept thinking he would get another chance in the NHL.

"I was excited to be able to play hockey again," Fehr said. "When you sit out some games, it's a nice change when you can be an effective player for your team, have some fun. 

"Call me crazy. I thought there would be an opportunity to get back into the League. That's what kept me going, having a lot of fun along the way and just playing hockey. It's nice when you can touch the puck a little bit and start making some plays. It really gets your confidence going and I think I've been able to take that confidence and take it into these games."

Video: ANA@SJS, Gm3: Sorensen slides backhander past Gibson

Luckily for Fehr, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson and DeBoer had long memories. They hadn't forgotten how well Fehr played against them in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final with the Pittsburgh Penguins, which the Penguins won in six games.

Wilson saw an opportunity to improve the team at the fourth-line center position.

"He's a veteran presence," DeBoer said. "I know when Doug [Wilson] acquired him, we had talked. We both liked him when he played against us in Pittsburgh. He was a big part of their Stanley Cup team on their fourth line, killing penalties, playing center, winning draws. 

"He has a lot more skill than he gets credit for. If you're going to have a four-line attack, you need skill on that line that can put a puck in the net. You're not just grinding. I thought those guys have done a great job of that." 

***

 

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