Support for the Sharks can be seen everywhere in San Jose. Electronic signs, colorful teal displays under bridges, banners on light poles, and even the jerseys of the entire team can be seen hanging on San Pedro Street, all with the same message, "Go Sharks."
Who is ready for Sharks playoff hockey?— Matt Keller (@MattKellerABC7) April 12, 2018
Road to the Stanley Cup starts tonight in Anaheim.
Watch party in Downtown San Jose at The Brit. pic.twitter.com/ufKCZGiHOY
"If you go to any of the spots, everything is "Sharks Territory. Everybody starts wearing all the stuff. Yeah, it's a cool crowd," Hayward resident Evan Ruane said.
"It's great for the city of San Jose. You know, whenever we can drive more excitement about the city, more excitement about the team to the downtown area. It fills restaurants, which is a great economic impact to the city," said Jim Sparaco, the director of public relations for the San Jose Sharks.
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The Sharks are almost always a sure bet to make the playoffs. The team has only missed the postseason twice in the past 20 years. Two seasons ago they went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. Betting odds Thursday have the Sharks as a long shot to win it all, at 22 to 1.
A watch party is being held at Britannia Arms in downtown San Jose Thursday and the Stanley Cup will be there for fans to check out in person.
Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Francois Beauchemin are still around in Anaheim, while Thornton, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Joe Pavelski are still in teal. When they drop the puck on another first-round meeting Thursday night at Honda Center, the veterans from both clubs will keep in mind what they've learned from many years of the playoff grind.
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"We would have liked to probably handle that series a little better," recalled Pavelski, now the Sharks' captain. "We were great in the regular season. Just never really got it going. This group understands we want to get off to a good start. If you get that first goal under your belt and play with the lead, more often than not it puts that other team under a little bit of pressure."
Much has changed for both teams in the ensuing nine years, but this rivalry hasn't cooled much. Getzlaf and Perry are still seeking their first Stanley Cup since 2007, while the Sharks are still waiting to raise it for the first time.
The first home game is Monday.
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The Associated Press contributed to this story.