SAN JOSE, Calif.
-- Their six-game winning streak ended emphatically on Thursday night. Now, the San Jose Sharks
are ready to begin a new one and eliminate the Detroit Red Wings
in the process.
Still armed with a 3-1 series lead, the top-seeded Sharks receive their second chance to advance to the Western Conference Finals on Saturday night as they host the Wings at HP Pavilion in Game 5, roughly 48 hours after having their doors blown off in a 7-1 loss at Joe Louis Arena.
While it was surprising to see the Sharks manhandled the way they were in Game 4, some believe such a loss is easier to get over than had they lost late in the third period or in overtime.
"I think when it's all said and done, you lose a heartbreaker in overtime, it's probably a little tougher to put behind you than 7-1," forward Ryane Clowe
said after the team skated on Saturday morning. "We had some chances early, but after that we weren't in that game. More than anything, I think we're ready to get going tonight."
Sharks coach Todd McLellan
certainly hopes so. With another capacity crowd expected on Saturday night, a better start from everyone in the lineup would be highly beneficial for San Jose.
"I got a call from a guy (on Friday) who has helped me throughout my career and we talked about his experiences, and he's won a number of (Stanley) Cups," McLellan said. "He said in this situation, the best thing about it is you're not talking about an individual or trying to get two or three guys going. You're talking about your team collectively, which is a good sign. They can all go out and be better."
Prior to Game 4, the Sharks hadn't lost since that unfortunate mishap in overtime of Game 3 of their opening-round series against the Colorado Avalanche
, when defenseman Dan Boyle
's attempted clearing attempt around the boards ended up in the back of his own net. Obviously, the Sharks responded tremendously from that loss, and Boyle isn't expecting anything different this time around.
"A loss is a loss … it doesn't matter what the score is," said Boyle, who won a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning
in 2004. "We were beaten badly, not only on the scoreboard. They were much hungrier and they were the better team and the smarter team. We just need to get back to what's been working for us."
Teammate Joe Pavelski
"It's a loss and you take it for what it is," said Pavelski, who was held off the score sheet for the first time in this series on Thursday night. "It's just important that we respond in the right way."
San Jose certainly responded well from losses during the regular season, considering it won 51 games and racked up 113 points. The Sharks lost only 20 games in regulation, the second-fewest in the NHL and the least in the Western Conference.
"I think we've done a good job all year of not really thinking about the past game and being ready for the next one," said Dany Heatley
, who scored the team's lone goal in Game 4. "It's an experienced group in here and we're ready to go tonight."
The Sharks spent a small portion of Friday watching video from Game 4 -- and the errors were evident. On Saturday night, it will be up to them to limit them and prevent the series from shifting back to Motown.
"We watched the video and saw the mistakes we made, and a lot of them were for a lack of effort," Boyle said. "I know the effort's going to be there from the guys tonight. Hopefully we can play smart. The last thing you want to do is get on a plane and fly five hours East to go back to Detroit for Game 6."
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL