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Sharks' pressure to live up to potential looms large ahead of Game 7

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SAN JOSE — Minutes after his club forced Game 7, Cale Makar’s extraordinary vision was proven to extend far beyond the ice on which he dominates.

“Now it’s a toss-up and the pressure is on them going back to San Jose,” said the 20-year-old Avalanche defenceman armed with clairvoyance that betrays his youth.

Yes, nerves will certainly be felt in an Avalanche dressing room full of wide-eyed youngsters who are just as shocked as the hockey world at their staying power.

However, the club clearly feeling a bigger squeeze than a John Daly hug is the veteran Sharks squad built entirely around finally completing the journey they’ve positioned themselves for over the last decade.

How many more chances will they get?

Perhaps never before has the team been better equipped to win its first Stanley Cup, nor have the seas parted so fortuitously as they have of late.

The top seeds are out, leaving a wildly unpredictable path for the second seed in the west to return to the final it fell short in three years earlier.

It is there the hockey world is already fantasizing about a matchup pitting Joe Thornton against a Boston bunch he was traded by 14 years earlier. A story for another day, if only the Sharks can hold serve in a game Los Tiburones die-hards fear could be yet another opportunity squandered.

You bet the pressure is on the team with five 27-goal scorers,........

© Sportsnet