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Even strength has been a problem for Sharks

Saturday, 05.21.2011 / 3:07 PM

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

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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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