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Sharks Ready to Bounce Back in Game 5

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks have been masters of the quick fix throughout the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and they're confident they can do it again after losing 6-3 to the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final at SAP Center on Saturday.

"We've battled through a lot this season," San Jose center Logan Couture said Sunday before the Sharks traveled to St. Louis. "When we're pushed, we've pushed back. We know in our room we didn't play well at all [Saturday] night. We made a lot of mistakes that we haven't been making throughout these playoffs, but Game 5 is a new opportunity for us."

The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2. Game 5 is at Scottrade Center on Monday (5 p.m. ET; CBC, NBCSN, TVA Sports).

The Sharks have lost consecutive games just once in the playoffs, Games 3 and 4 against the Nashville Predators in the second round. Nashville needed triple overtime to defeat the Sharks 4-3 in Game 4. San Jose responded with a 5-1 victory in Game 5. Then after losing 4-3 in overtime in Game 6, the Sharks won the series with a 5-0 victory in Game 7.

San Jose started developing its knack for bouncing back quickly during the regular season. Over their final 44 regular-season games, the Sharks had one losing streak, dropping three straight games from March 22-26.

"I think we've got a smart group that takes a lot of pride in their game and their identity as a hard team to play against," coach Peter DeBoer said. "When we step out of that box we usually don't get rewarded, we usually don't deserve to get rewarded, and that's what happened. We tend to get it back quickly because of that."

The Sharks responded to a 2-1 loss in Game 1 by defeating the Blues 4-0 in Game 2.

Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said the problems from their Game 4 loss Saturday are fixable.

"I think any time you put a performance out that's not up to our standards, you just kind of get back to the basics," Pavelski said. "We could have broke the puck out better, had a little better support, just engaged a little bit more. Those are things we can fix.

"I think after the game we realized we could have been better, we could have been a lot harder in areas, we could have been cleaner, we didn't execute. The support wasn't there. We just got caught on the wrong side of the puck. You can't have that this time of the year, and they were prepared to play pucks in and be a little bit harder. We definitely have to get back and fix it."

The Sharks have some work to do on their special teams. The Blues went 2-for-4 on the power play and scored a shorthanded goal Saturday. San Jose went 0-for-5 on the power play.

"We want to stay out of the box," Couture said. "Took a couple too many penalties last game. They've got a good power play. Our power play wasn't great [Saturday] night. That's usually what happens when we're not playing well."

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock changed goaltenders for Game 4 following consecutive defeats, replacing Brian Elliott with Jake Allen, shuffled his top three lines and made one change to his defensemen. In Game 3, he made three lineup changes and juggled his first and third lines.

DeBoer didn't sound ready to make any dramatic changes for Game 5.

"We've played some really good hockey in the last two or three weeks," DeBoer said. "I think we can fix it without having to take those type of measures. But those things are always in play, and we'll sleep on it and make some decisions [Monday]."

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com Correspondent
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