SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks are one win from their first Stanley Cup Final, but coach Peter DeBoer wants his players to remember that even if they eliminate the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final at SAP Center on Wednesday (6 p.m. ET; CBC, NBCSN, TVA Sports), they will not have won anything yet.
DeBoer knows from experience. His New Jersey Devils lost the 2012 Stanley Cup Final to the Los Angeles Kings in six games after defeating the rival New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final.
"We won Game 6 against the New York Rangers in overtime to advance," DeBoer said Tuesday after the Sharks returned home from St. Louis. "It's a whirlwind of emotions at that point. But you can't forget, there's still other steps. They're not awarding the Stanley Cup here tomorrow night or Friday if it takes that long. ... This is just another step for us."
The Sharks, who defeated the Blues 6-3 on Monday in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series, are trying not to look too far ahead.
"It's a good position to be in, obviously, winning Game 5 and coming home having a chance to close out the series," Sharks forward Patrick Marleau said. "There's still a lot of work to go into getting that deciding game."
The Sharks had a chance to take a 3-1 series lead in Game 4 in San Jose, but they trailed 2-0 after the first period, 4-0 after the second and lost 6-3 in one of their worst games of the postseason. San Jose didn't match St. Louis' level of desperation or execution and paid the price.
Defenseman Paul Martin said the Sharks learned from that loss.
"I think we just need to be better early, most importantly," Martin said. "They were able to capitalize on a couple of their opportunities with execution, and I think we had some chances in that game but we maybe didn't execute the way we normally would have to stay in that game or at least keep it close for a while, for longer than it was."
Martin said the Sharks finally played with more desperation in the third period in Game 4 but will need to find that level from the outset of Game 6.
"It will be their best game," Martin said of the Blues. "We'll have to know that and match that level early on."
Martin has made the playoffs in each of his 12 NHL seasons but has yet to reach the Stanley Cup Final. Goaltender Martin Jones is the only Sharks player who has won the Cup, as the backup for the Kings in 2014, when he didn't make an appearance in the Final.
Forward Dainius Zubrus is the only other San Jose player who has reached the Stanley Cup Final. He did it twice but lost each time, in 1997 with the Philadelphia Flyers and 2012 with the DeBoer-coached Devils.
"We're not anywhere near where we want to get to yet," DeBoer said. "I mean, that's a long way away. This is just another step for us. So it is business as usual.
"This is finishing off a very good team, trying to finish off a very good team, and take another step toward where we want to get to."
by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com Correspondent