Jones was pulled in Game 2, sparking a rally from three goals down that drew the Sharks even before Dell was saddled with a 5-3 loss. In Game 3, Jones allowed six goals, including a hat trick by Stone, and was beaten high to the glove side on each of Vegas’s first three goals. Jones allowed two goals on seven shots in the first period of Game 4 and was pulled again. San Jose lost, 5-0, despite outshooting Vegas 18-7 in the first period and 26-14 through two periods.
But the resilient Sharks have been introspective in the face of obstacles, Wilson said. They have also approached this season with the usual mix of steadfast dedication and locker-room antics that have been its trademark since Thornton’s arrival in 2005.
“Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, that’s how they live their life; that’s real,” DeBoer said. “What you see in the personality of this team is how those guys are if you showed up at their house in the middle of July. They prepare as hard as anybody, but they enjoy the process, and that’s contagious.”
Thornton and Pavelski, the current captain, also exemplify another common thread among their teammates: neither has won the Stanley Cup.
In his pursuit of the franchise’s elusive first title, Wilson, a former Norris Trophy winner who did not win a championship as a player either, has not placed an emphasis on Cup-winning experience. As was the case in 2016, Jones is the only Sharks player this season to have hoisted the Cup, albeit in a limited role as a backup for the Los Angeles Kings.
Wilson, who has been the team’s general manager since 2003, has once again wagered that hungry sharks swim faster.
“These guys have won Olympic golds, world juniors, world championships; they’ve won all over the place,” he said. “When we went to the Cup finals, a lot of those guys are still here and they still draw upon it today. They all get it. There’s certainly hunger there.”
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