And just like that, the Sharks are done, venturing into an offseason with the fastest playoff out in team history. San Jose fell in five games to the St. Louis Blues. A Sharks team had never gone out in the first round in as few as five games.
A fitting conclusion? Absolutely, especially considering how the team struggled down the stretch even to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs, and how much trouble they had with the defensive-minded Blues.
Counting the regular season, the Sharks went 1-8 against the Blues, who surrendered only 12 goals in those nine games and just eight in the five-game series.
"It's just a terrible feeling right now," captain Joe Thornton said. "We pushed hard, and just came out on the short end of the stick this time. But it sucks. This is the best time to play, and to go out like this ... it just is very frustrating."
The Blues were better in all aspects, but special teams stick out. St. Louis managed six power-play goals and allowed the Sharks only two. St. Louis was better 5-on-5 -- it was faster, more physical, more disciplined, received better goaltending and was stifling on defense.
Only four forwards scored goals -- Thornton and Martin Havlat with two each, Logan Couture and Andrew Desjardins with one apiece. Scorers Joe Pavelski, Ryane Clowe and Patrick Marleau were shut out.
"A lot of this was St. Louis," coach Todd McLellan said. "They gave up 165 goals. In the last four years, the only team close to that was Vancouver with 185. They are stifling. They just are just defensively stifling."
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