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Sharks could change lineup to add size, toughness

Monday, 04.16.2012 / 5:36 PM

By Eric Gilmore - NHL.com Correspondent / Blues vs. Sharks series blog

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Blues vs. Sharks series blog
Sharks could change lineup to add size, toughness
SAN JOSE -- Something needs to change for the San Jose Sharks after falling 3-0 on Saturday to the St. Louis Blues in Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

It could be the Sharks' lineup for Game 3 on Monday night at HP Pavilion.

"We have that option," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said after his team's optional morning skate. "We have five extra players that are here. We're debating different line combinations, different players that we can throw in. When the puck drops we'll all know what they are."

If McLellan does make lineup changes, defenseman Colin White and former Blues forward Brad Winchester are the most likely additions. Both would add size and toughness in what has become a very physical series.

"Do we need some size in and around the net?" McLellan said. "Perhaps. Is it in and around their net or in and around our net? We'll have to make a decision there. Do we need some tempo? I didn't think we skated the way we needed to skate in the last two periods to get to the battles. They got their eyes up in the offensive zone and were dangerous, and we never had that chance. In the offensive zone we were a little bit slow. We need to find some tempo in our game as well."

Neither Winchester nor White offered any clues as to whether they'd be in the lineup for Game 3.

"I have no idea," White said. "Your guess is as good as mine."

San Jose's top line of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski has yet to record a point in the series in two games matched up against the Blues' top line of David Backes, David Perron and T.J. Oshie. But now that the Sharks are home and have the last change, McLellan, if he chooses to, can adjust the matchups and pit Thornton's line against St. Louis' second line of Patrik Berglund, Alexander Steen and Andy McDonald.

"We'll make some decisions as the game goes on," McLellan said. "The Backes-Jumbo matchup is what they want. If you get away from it you fall into the Berglund-Jumbo match. We talked about this in St. Louis. They're just as capable as Backes is. … If you avoid one you take the other one on. The top end players are going to have to play through it and find ways to be effective."

Oshie said he's ready for a curve from the Sharks and wouldn't be surprised if McLellan adjusts the matchups, which would also pit St. Louis' top line against San Jose's second line of Logan Couture, Ryane Clowe and Martin Havlat.

"Something's going to change," Oshie said. "If that's it, the responsibility (against Thornton's line) goes on someone else and we're going to have to deal with Couture, and that's a great line, too. I think our top two lines are pretty similar in the sense they're both hard-working, they both can put the puck in the net."

"I think that's one of the things about our team, is with the depth we have, if Jumbo's not getting us, they're most likely getting Berglund's line. They're very good at playing in the offensive zone. We just try to play in the offensive zone as much as we can on them. They're going to get their chances. We're not going to hold them to no points the whole series. We know that. They're a great line, but as much as we can we want to limit them."

Quote of the Day

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie