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Sharks’ season ends with Game 6 loss to Blues

ST. LOUIS — It was just all too much for the Sharks to overcome.
The injuries they had and the mistakes they made, the physicality the St. Louis Blues displayed and the forecheck they employed.
The Sharks simply ran out of magic. Their season came to a quiet end Tuesday in a 5-1 loss that sent the St. Louis Blues to the Stanley Cup final for the for the first time since 1970.
“I’m proud of our group tonight,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said. “I don’t think the score reflected the work we put in. We showed up under tough circumstances and got effort from every guy.”
The Sharks entered this must-win game without the services of captain Joe Pavelski, two-time Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson, and second-leading scorer Tomas Hertl.
The Blues will face the Boston Bruins in the Cup final, starting May 27 in Boston.
So ends not only the dream of a Stanley Cup for the Sharks, but also a Hollywood match-up between Joe Thornton and the Boston team that drafted him as a teen and traded him eight years later, convinced he couldn’t lead the Bruins to the top. The Stanley Cup remains the one thing missing from Thornton’s resume and at 39, time is runnning short if it exists at all.
“He’s the face of the organization, the heartbeat of the organization,” DeBoer said. “We’re disappointed in not helping him get there because he gives everything he’s got and he belongs there playing for the Cup.”
The Sharks fell behind 92 seconds into the game and trailed 2-0 at the end of the first period. But Dylan Gambrell, in his second career NHL playoff game, scored his first career NHL goal — playoffs or regular season — at the 6:40 mark of the second period to cut the lead to one. Logan Couture had a chance to tie the game shortly after, but couldn’t bat in a loose puck at the side of the crease with a wide open net in front of him.
The Blues regained their two-goal lead at the 12:47 mark of the second period. With Justin Braun serving a hooking penalty, Brayden Schenn, after a failed attempt by the Sharks to clear the puck, scored his second of the playoffs at the side of the net.
The Sharks came back from a 3-1 series deficit in the first round against the Vegas Golden Knights, including a 3-0 score in the third period. They won a gutsy Game 7 against the Colorado Avalanche in the second round, advancing to the Western Conference Final for the fifth time in their history.
But they didn’t have an answer for the Blues, who won the last three games of the series after Erik Karlsson’s controversial overtime winner in Game 3 that gave the Sharks a 5-4 victory.
Since that game, the Blues outscored the Sharks 12-2 in three games. They held on for a 2-1 victory in Game 4 and earned a 5-0 victory in San Jose in Game 5 on Sunday.

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