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Sharks must put Game 1 loss behind them

San Jose feels it didn't get the bounces, believes adjustments will help tie series

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

ST. LOUIS -- The ability to put losses in the rearview mirror is paramount in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

No team has ever gone 16-0 to win a championship, so dealing with losses is a necessary, and underrated, skill.

But, as the number of wins necessary to win the Stanley Cup get smaller, the importance of the losses becomes bigger.

The San Jose Sharks, behind in a series for the first time this postseason, started the process of distancing themselves after a 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final at Scottrade Center on Sunday.

The Blues lead the best-of-7 series 1-0. Game 2 is Tuesday in St. Louis (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"We're fine," San Jose right wing Joel Ward said. "The series is not over tonight."

Video: SJS@STL, Gm1: Thornton draws iron in final minute

Certainly, there was some disappointment on the Sharks side that a winnable game slipped through their fingers.

"When you put in a good effort and you don't get the results you want, it's tough to separate," captain Joe Pavelski said. "You just have to throw another game out there like that."

The Sharks outshot the Blues 24-12 after the first period, but could not solve goalie Brian Elliott in the final 20 minutes, allowing a second-period goal to center Jori Lehtera, against the run of play, to stand as the game-winner.

"Two good teams," said San Jose defenseman Brent Burns, who turned the puck over on the goal. "We created a lot. That's the way the games are going to go, little bounces here and there. That's the way it is going to be the rest of the series."

San Jose was on the wrong end of the crucial bounces in Game 1.

Lehtera scored on a shot which found its way between the arm and chest of goalie Martin Jones. Burns said he believes that the puck might have bounced off the ice after Lehtera shot it. He also thought that back-checking forward Chris Tierney might have gotten his stick blade on the puck as it was being shot.

"Knuckle shot," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "Those happen. I mean, you know, that's not on Jonesy."

At the other end, Elliott got the tip of his skate on a one-timer by Pavelski to deny a golden chance.

"They're a good team and they find ways to win," Pavelski said. "They got a few more bounces tonight."

Video: SJS@STL, Gm1: Vlasic draws iron, Elliott covers puck

Ward thought he had one of those bounces with 1:15 remaining in the second period, when he crashed the crease, saw a puck uncovered by Elliott and watched as the goalie flashed his leg back and kick the puck across the goal line.

The officials lost sight of the puck and a whistle ended the play before the puck entered the net.

 "We thought we played well," Ward said. "We have a confident group. Tough loss for sure, but we are looking forward to another crack at it."

The Sharks know they will have to do some things better and some things different in Game 2 on Tuesday.

Their vaunted power play was 0-for-3, while the Blues scored their first goal of the game with the man advantage. The Sharks had 24 shots that didn't reach Elliott.

"We've got to score," DeBoer said. We've got to score more than one goal; got to find a way. Whether it's burying the chances we had [or] find a way to create a couple more. Obviously get a power-play goal.

"This time of year, you're not going to win games with one goal. I think the goals were there tonight, and we just didn't stick them in."

Other adjustments will be made, as they have been after each game this postseason.

"Always going to be adjustments here and there," Burns said. "Four teams left in an already tight League; there are going to be tight games. I think we can change what we do a little bit, but the enemy gets a vote too."

The Sharks believe their adjustments will be enough to get this series back to San Jose tied at one game each, leaving each team seven wins short of winning the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

They can't wait to find out Tuesday.

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