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Posted On Tuesday, 05.24.2011 / 8:47 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Western Conf. Final: Canucks-Sharks Blog

Sharks jumble top three lines for Game 5

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Of all the potential changes that were possible for both teams heading into Game 5 of the Western Conference, the Canucks are the only team making a lineup change and it's a small one at that with Victor Oreskovich going in to play right wing on the fourth line for Alex Bolduc.

However, the Sharks showed three new forward lines in warm-ups for the first time in the series. Only their fourth line with Jamie McGinn, Andrew Desjardins and Jamal Mayers remained in tact.

It appears Logan Couture will move up to play Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton on the top line. Joe Pavelski will center the second line between Ryane Clowe and Devin Setoguchi. Dany Heatley, who hasn't produced in the series, is now on the third line with Kyle Wellwood and Torrey Mitchell.

These were the same lines that the Sharks used in the third period of Game 4, when they ripped 17 shots at Roberto Luongo and scored two goals.

Vancouver defensemen Christian Ehrhoff and Aaron Rome are both still out with injuries, so the Canucks' third pairing will again be Keith Ballard on the left side and Chris Tanev on the right.

San Jose defenseman Jason Demers is also not in the lineup despite saying Tuesday morning that he is 100 percent ready to go after overcoming some bumps and bruises in his upper body that kept him out of the first four games of the series.

Here are the lines and defensive pairings that each team showed in pre-game warmups:

SAN JOSE

Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Logan Couture
Ryane Clowe - Joe Pavelski - Devin Setoguchi
Torrey Mitchell - Kyle Wellwood - Dany Heatley
Jamie McGinn - Andrew Desjardins - Jamal Mayers

Dan Boyle - Douglas Murray
Ian White - Niclas Wallin
Kent Huskins - Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Antti Niemi
Antero Niittymaki

VANCOUVER

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alex Burrows
Chris Higgins - Ryan Kesler - Mason Raymond
Raffi Torres - Maxim Lapierre - Jannik Hansen
Tanner Glass - Cody Hodgson - Victor Oreskovich

Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa
Alex Edler - Sami Salo
Keith Ballard - Chris Tanev

Roberto Luongo
Cory Schneider

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Monday, 05.23.2011 / 12:54 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Western Conf. Final: Canucks-Sharks Blog

Boyle on 5-on-5 dominance, surprising outcome

Dan Boyle is by far the most honest quote in the Sharks locker room, always speaking his mind about his play and what's happening with the team.

On Monday, he said the mood of the team was good after they spent Sunday night pouting about the 4-2 loss in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final that left the Sharks in a 3-1 series hole with Game 5 set for Tuesday night in Vancouver.

Boyle said after he watched a replay of the game when he got home Sunday night, he was a little stunned by the fact the Sharks utterly dominated the Canucks at 5-on-5, yet were basically playing out the final minutes of a blowout loss during the third period.

"I was pretty upset last night, and I watched the replay of the game when I got home," Boyle said. "It was more frustrating than anything. They had seven 5-on-5 shots. If you had asked me before the game started if they would have that many shots, I would've taken it obviously."

Of course, a record three 5-on-3 goals would submarine any team, no matter how well they played at 5-on-5. That's why Boyle believes the Sharks shouldn't be written off entering Game 5.

"We have to be optimistic," Boyle said. "That's what we have to do."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Sunday, 05.22.2011 / 10:09 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Western Conf. Final: Canucks-Sharks Blog

Record setting day for Canucks

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- It was a record-setting day for the Vancouver Canucks. Here is some of what they were able to accomplish in their 4-2 win over San Jose in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals:

* Vancouver set an NHL postseason record for most 5-on-3 goals scored in a single playoff game (3).

* The Canucks' three power play goals were scored in a span of one minute and 55 seconds, which is a new team record for fastest three goals in playoff history. It's also a record for the fastest three power play goals scored in NHL playoff history since the current power play rule came into play in 1957.

Prior to 1957, the penalized player was not allowed to leave the box after a goal was scored. The Red Wings and Canadiens scored three power play goals in a span of 56 seconds in 1954, but that was under the old rule.

* Sami Salo's pair of goals 16 seconds apart is a Canucks' playoff record for fastest two goals. Since they were both on the power play, Salo also tied Larry Murphy's NHL record for fastest two power play goals in the playoffs since 1957.

Bernie Geoffrion scored two power play goals 12 seconds apart under the old rule in 1955.

* Henrik Sedin's four assists gives him the team's single-game record for most assists in a playoff game. His three assists in the second period is also a new team record for most assists in a period.

* While this record isn't listed in Vancouver's playoff media guide, you have to assume that their 75 percent shooting in the second period (3 goals on four shots) has got to be one.

* The Canucks also set a record for fewest shots in a playoff game with 13, but that didn't matter.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl


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Posted On Sunday, 05.22.2011 / 3:00 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Western Conf. Final: Canucks-Sharks Blog

Lineups for Game 4

Vancouver defensemen Keith Ballard and rookie Chris Tanev are going to get their chance Sunday afternoon to prove to coach Alain Vigneault he need not worry if the injuries to Christian Ehrhoff and Aaron Rome are indeed of the serious variety.

Ballard and Tanev will make up the Canucks' third defensive pair in Game 4 against San Jose at HP Pavilion. Ehrhoff and Rome were both injured in Game 3 and their statuses have not been updated by the team, but it's believed Rome is more banged up than Ehrhoff, who is likely out with a shoulder injury.

Ballard, who is making $4.2 million this season, has been a healthy scratch for seven straight games while Tanev will be making his Stanley Cup Playoff debut. Ballard has suited up in seven playoff games this spring and has no points and four penalty minutes. Tanev, who played 29 games in the regular season, was recently called up after the Manitoba Moose were eliminated from the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Vigneault said Saturday that he has complete faith in Ballard despite knocking him down the depth chart as the season progressed. Ballard said he would understand if Vigneault doesn't have confidence in him because he's been inconsistent in his first year with the Canucks.

Ballard said he wasn't looking at Sunday's game as his opportunity to erase the bitter taste of a rough first season in Vancouver, but if he plays well a lot of what has happened to him would be forgotten for the time being. He just wants to play well to help the team win.

Since Tanev is a righty, Ballard can play on the left side, where he is more comfortable. Vigneault chose to play Tanev over Alberts likely because he is a righty. Alberts is a lefty and if he were in, Ballard would have to move to the right side.

Vancouver also has a change in its forward lines with Cody Hodgson drawing back in for Victor Oreskovich. Hodgson was scratched for Game 3 in favor of Alex Bolduc, but now he will be back on the fourth line with Bolduc and Tanner Glass.

The Sharks will be using the same lineup that was good enough to win Game 3, meaning Ben Eager, Scott Nichol and Ben Ferriero remain as scratches while Jamie McGinn, Andrew Desjardins and Jamal Mayers retain their spots on the fourth line. Jason Demers will miss his fourth straight game with an undisclosed injury.

Here are the rest of the lines, defensive pairings and goaltenders for Game 4:

VANCOUVER

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alex Burrows

Chris Higgins - Ryan Kesler - Mason Raymond

Raffi Torres - Maxim Lapierre - Jannik Hansen

Tanner Glass - Cody Hodgson - Alex Bolduc

 
Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa

Sami Salo - Alex Edler

Keith Ballard - Chris Tanev

 
Roberto Luongo

Cory Schneider

 
SAN JOSE

Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Devin Setoguchi

Ryane Clowe - Logan Couture - Dany Heatley

Torrey Mitchell - Joe Pavelski - Kyle Wellwood

Jamie McGinn - Andrew Desjardins - Jamal Mayers


Dan Boyle - Douglas Murray

Niclas Wallin - Ian White

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Kent Huskins

 
Antti Niemi

Antero Niittymaki

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Saturday, 05.21.2011 / 7:23 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Western Conf. Final: Canucks-Sharks Blog

Q&A with Joe Pavelski

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- I caught up with Sharks center Joe Pavelski today after San Jose's workout at Sharks Ice. We chatted for a few minutes and here is a transcript of our discussion.

Do you believe that momentum can carry over from one game to the next in the playoffs?

"There definitely are swings throughout games. One game to the next? I would say there has got to be a little bit, but you can squash it pretty quick as soon as the puck drops. I don't think there is all that much from puck drop to puck drop. I think you can re-establish and you have to re-establish yourself from game to game."

So, who carries that little bit of momentum into Game 4? Your team won, but they scored two late goals to make it interesting.

"Well, see, that's the thing. You have to re-establish it because it's a new game, guys are going to make different plays and certain players are going to have the puck a little bit more than others."

When Patrick Marleau gets on a streak like he is on right now with 5 goals in four games, do you notice things that he does in his game that are different from what he does when he's not going well?

"No, not really, not a whole lot. I mean, he seems to play the same way. He might be a little more engaged at times, but when he is scoring goals he is definitely moving good."

Their 'D' got beat up yesterday and two guys might not play. Does that affect you guys in any way?

"I'm sure they're going to have players that step in and are going to be ready to fill a challenge as we will too if someone gets hurt. From that case we can't let our game slip at all. It has to get better."

What do you think about the leads in the playoffs? Boston had a 3-0 lead against Tampa today and they lost 5-3. You guys had a 4-1 lead going into the final 10 minutes in the third period last night and had to hang on to win 4-3. Is nothing safe?

"Yeah, it happens fast, especially when you have power plays and you have to kill off five minutes. The score can change in a hurry. We've seen it all throughout playoffs so we have to keep pushing, keep guys down and find a way to get that next goal."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Saturday, 05.21.2011 / 3:07 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Western Conf. Final: Canucks-Sharks Blog

Even strength has been a problem for Sharks

While the Sharks used their power play to pull themselves back into the series in Game 3, their 5-on-5 play is one of the reasons they are still trailing the Canucks 2-1.

Of the eight goals scored by the Sharks in this series, just two have been at even strength. One of those goals was from Ben Eager in Game 2. It cut the lead from 7-2 to 7-3 in the final minutes of the third period.

In Game 3, the Sharks had 19 shots on the power play, 18 at even strength.

Players know they need to be better in Game 4, because the 10 power-play chances they received in Game 3 aren't coming again.

"Of course we'd like to step up the 5-on-5 play as far as goals are concerned," defenseman Dan Boyle said. "But we just have to find a way to win a hockey game. So far it's been the speciality team battle. But our 5-on-5 needs to keep getting better."

Captain Joe Thornton said the key to finding themselves at even strength is to maintain discipline.

"Stay out of the penalty box," Thornton said. "We feel comfortable 5-on-5. If we stay out of the box, we'll get some more 5-on-5 play."

With the two goals scored by the Canucks during a 5-minute major in Game 3, they've had 17 power-play chances in three games and 14 in the past two. The special teams have been a major part of this series, but Ryane Clowe knows 5-on-5 needs to be a focus for the Sharks.

"Last night, the game had a lot of special teams and the 5-on-5 play was tough to get a rhythm," Clowe said. "If we can keep that going next game, get a little more 5-on-5, less PK, we'll be good."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Saturday, 05.21.2011 / 2:40 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 Western Conf. Final: Canucks-Sharks Blog

Sharks stick to the plan

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The Sharks had stressed the importance of staying out of the penalty box Friday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals after getting scorched by Daniel and Henrik Sedin on the power play in a Game 2 loss to Vancouver.
 
That plan worked to perfection for the Sharks in the first period as they built a 3-0 lead. Then the second period began, and the penalties returned. In a span of less than nine minutes, the Sharks were hit with four penalties, as Joe Pavelski, Andrew Desjardins, Joe Thornton and Desjardins again paraded to the penalty box.
 
But instead of having another penalty kill meltdown, the Sharks prevailed during that critical stretch. They killed all four of those second-period penalties, including two when the Canucks had 5-on-3 advantages. And instead of blowing part or all of their lead, which their leaky penalty kill in Game 2 suggested they might do, the Sharks took their 3-0 edge into the third period and held on for a 4-3 win.
 
During most of that 5-on-3 time, Pavelski and defensemen Douglas Murray and Marc-Edouard Vlasic were on the ice with goaltender Antti Niemi.
 
Pavelski, Murray and Vlasic formed a tight triangle of bodies in front of Niemi. The shots that did get past that wall, Niemi handled.
 
"It's tough," Vlasic said. "You're just trying to stay in a small triangle, blocking all the shots, getting in lanes. Murray and Pavelski blocked five each, I think. So it was huge. They're going up and down. I'm going side to side, just getting in lanes, and Nemo made a nice save once or twice. We limited their chances 5-on-3, but guys did a great job blocking shots."
 
Murray had five blocks for the game, while Pavelski had three and Vlasic two.
 
"Obviously you can't cover everything," Murray said. "You've just got to block as many shots as you can when they're taking them. I think we did a good job of that. Whatever went through, Nemo took care of."
 
The key to the Sharks' success against Vancouver's 5-on-3 onslaught was for the defensemen to stay in a tight group in front of Niemi, Murray said.
 
"If you spread it out too much you can't recover and they can make plays through the box," Murray said. "We're trying to make sure – I mean somebody's going to be open, it's 5-on-3 – whatever shots they're taking we can block them or Nemo doesn't move too much side to side. Tried to make it as easy of shots as possible."
 
In Game 2, Vancouver had three power play goals in seven chances, with Daniel Sedin scoring twice with the man advantage, and Henrik Sedin assisting on both goals.
 
"It was great adjustment there on the 5-on 3," Sharks forward Ryane Clowe said. "They were bombing away. It's tough to get too much done when you've only got three guys, so all you've got to do is hope and block shots, and that's what we did."
 
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Posted On Friday, 05.20.2011 / 9:10 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Western Conf. Final: Canucks-Sharks Blog

Eager sits out in Game 3

After talking up Ben Eager's importance following his six-penalty performance in Game 2, Sharks coach Todd McLellan has apparently had a change of heart because the bruising fourth-liner who lost his cool Wednesday night will not play in Game 3 for San Jose.

The Sharks' fourth line is instead a grouping of Jamie McGinn, Andrew Desjardins and Jamal Mayers -- three guys who did not play in Game 2. McGinn last played in Game 6 against Detroit while Desjardins will be making his Stanley Cup Playoff debut as the center on the Sharks' fourth line.

McLellan was high in his praise of Eager's game following Wednesday's 7-3 loss, saying he likes what the grinding winger brings in terms of energy and physicality -- but the downside, of course, is when he parades himself to the penalty box like he did in Game 2.

The Canucks also have two changes on their fourth line, as Alex Bolduc has gone from Black Ace to fourth-line center in a matter of days. He replaces rookie Cody Hodgson, who played in six straight games. Tanner Glass has drawn back in on the left side for Jeff Tambellini, who played in Game 2 because Canucks coach Alain Vigneault was looking for some speed.

Clearly Vigneault is going the physical rout because with Victor Oreskovich, Bolduc and Glass will give the Canucks a massive and tough fourth line. It all may have been a ploy to counter Eager, but he is not playing.

Here are the rest of the lines and defensive pairings that were shown during pre-game warm-ups:

SAN JOSE

Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Devin Setoguchi
Ryane Clowe - Logan Couture - Dany Heatley
Kyle Wellwood - Joe Pavelski - Torrey Mitchell
Jamie McGinn - Andrew Desjardins - Jamal Mayers

Dan Boyle - Douglas Murray
Niclas Wallin - Ian White
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Kent Huskins

Antti Niemi
Antero Niittymaki

VANCOUVER

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alex Burrows
Chris Higgins - Ryan Kesler - Mason Raymond
Raffi Torres - Maxim Lapierre - Jannik Hansen
Tanner Glass - Alex Bolduc - Victor Oreskovich

Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa
Christian Ehrhoff - Aaron Rome
Sami Salo - Alex Edler

Roberto Luongo
Cory Schneider

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Friday, 05.20.2011 / 11:09 AM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Western Conf. Final: Canucks-Sharks Blog

McLellan says Sharks are missing Demers

Jason Demers isn't a No. 1 defenseman or even a No. 2 for the San Jose Sharks. Yet his absence during the first two games of this series has had an impact on the team.

Just ask coach Todd McLellan.

"It has," McLellan said Friday morning. "Our belief in Jason and his ability is very strong.  He's played a very key role in our team play this year.  He's an offensive guy with very good eyes and very good hands, thinks the game creatively."

Demers' injury has forced McLellan to use Kent Huskins during Games 1 and 2. Huskins hadn't played since Feb. 19 and doesn't possess the same offensive skills of Demers.

"Huskins is a different player," McLellan said. "When you put Kent in, it changes. He's a defender. He's more about staying at home and playing in a smaller sheet of ice than the bigger sheet. So it does change the dynamic somewhat.  You have to ask others to do a little bit more in offensive situations.  But it's not the end of the world."

Put a period on it -- Of late, the Sharks have been struggling in the third period. During the first round against the Kings, the Sharks were dominated during the first period.'

Instead of seeing it as a negative, McLellan put a positive spin on it.

"If we're fortunate enough to move on and get to play, then we may even be talking about the second period," McLellan cracked.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Thursday, 05.19.2011 / 5:20 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Western Conf. Final: Canucks-Sharks Blog

Boyle: Sharks giving Sedins too much respect

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- It's important to respect your opponent. But Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle thinks it's gone a little too far during the Western Conference Final.

"There's a little too much respect," Boyle said Thursday. "I think it's important to have respect for guys like the Sedins, but I think we're giving them too much."

Respect could be a synonym for space when Boyle talks about it. Is that something done knowingingly, or is it a sub-conscious thing that players might not realizing they're doing?

"That had a so-called quiet series last series, and no one expected that to happen this time around," Boyle said. "There's been a little too much respect. I think at home we'll have a little bit of ... the matchups will probably be a little bit better. I think when those guys are given that extra little foot, they can take advantage of it."

Sharks captain Joe Thornton feels it's important to give the Canucks respect, but agrees with Boyle that too much is a problem.

"We gave L.A. their respect, Detroit their respect and now Vancouver," Thornton said. "They did what they're supposed to do -- win two games at home. Now we gotta do what we're supposed to do -- win two games at our home."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Quote of the Day

I don't know how he does it. I don't know how he gets his body parallel with the player and pulls it through his legs like that. I know he's tried it a couple times in practice and it's never worked, so how he does it in a game, it's incredible.

— Capitals defenseman Mike Green on teammate Alex Ovechkin's highlight-reel goal against the Devils on Saturday