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Sharks await Ducks-Predators winner
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SAN JOSE (AP) — The San Jose Sharks are happy to wait a little longer before finding out their second-round playoff opponent.
While Anaheim and Nashville prepare for a Game 7, San Jose spent a second straight day Tuesday practicing and recuperating as part of its preparation for round two.
“We’re always working on our foundation, which is applicable no matter who we’re playing,” coach Peter DeBoer said. “I don’t think it’s any different. Obviously when we find out who we’re playing there will be a couple little tweaks or some extra emphasis on some situations or things that a particular team brings.”
The Sharks won’t learn their round two opponent until late Wednesday night after the Ducks and Predators play Game 7 in Anaheim. DeBoer said he’s been told the series will likely start Friday no matter who the opponent is, with the only question being if Game 1 is in Anaheim if the Ducks win or in San Jose if Nashville comes out on top.
That will leave the Sharks just one full practice to focus on their opponent before starting the next series.
“It’s probably tougher for the coaches because they have to prepare for two opponents,” defenseman Paul Martin said. “For us, it will take a little time to absorb that information. But we got this far by playing our game and that’s something we have to make sure we don’t change.”
The Sharks took care of their business quickly in the first round, beating rival Los Angeles in five games to advance to the second round for just the second time since 2011.
This marks the fifth time since 2006 that the Sharks have had at least five days off between series after finishing off an opponent early. They lost the four previous times, dropping the first two games to Los Angeles in 2013 after getting six days off and getting swept by Chicago in the 2010 Western Conference final after getting seven days off.
“You would never complain about not playing right now, but it’s definitely a fine line,” DeBoer said. “You can get rusty, you can get a little soft, and the way these series work, we can’t afford that, we can’t afford to come out and be off the first couple games. That’s the line we’re trying to walk.”
When they get there they will be happy to see a different opponent. San Jose has played its past 19 playoff games against the Kings, losing seven-game series in 2013 and ‘14 before missing the postseason entirely last year.
It’s been a while since San Jose has faced either Anaheim or Nashville in the postseason. The Sharks lost to the Ducks in the first round in 2009 after winning the Presidents’ Trophy in the regular season. They beat Nashville in the first round in 2006 and ‘07.
The Sharks struggled in the regular season against both teams. They lost two of three to Nashville, with the only win coming in a shootout in Nashville on April 2.
San Jose dropped three of four to the Ducks, scoring just four goals in the four games. Top-line players Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski were held without a point in the season series.