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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final

Thornton: Sharks are confident going into Game 7

By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- If you believe Sharks captain Joe Thornton, confidence in San Jose’s locker room is as high as it can be.

That's a bold statement, considering the Sharks have dropped three straight to the Detroit Red Wings after jumping to a 3-0 series lead in their best-of-seven Western Conference Semifinal. The Sharks have squandered third-period leads in the past two games, setting up Thursday night's Game 7 at HP Pavilion.

The Sharks' power play has vanished during the three losses, going 0-for-10 on the power play during the skid.

Here's what Thornton had to say following Sharks practice Wednesday at Sharks Ice:

Q: What is the mentality of the team going into Game 7?

A:
Confident. Very confident. Extremely confident.

Q: Is it all about one game and looking forward and not looking back at the last three games?

A:
Yeah, you get Game7s and they're a lot of fun. In front our home fans, it's going to be a great atmosphere. I'm really looking forward to it.

Q: If Ryane Clowe is unable to go, how tough is that going to be for the team?

A:
Well, we hope he goes. If he doesn't, like I said before Game 6, different guys go to step up. We changed the lines a little bit. We just didn't play well in Game 6 at all. We just have to be better than we were and better in Game 7.

Q: Does anything need to be said in the locker room?

A:
No. Everybody realizes what's at stake.

Q: Can you talk about the goaltending you've received in this series from Antti Niemi?

A:
Nemo's been great. When we got up 1-0, with the way he's been playing, we thought maybe he could steal this game. But both goaltenders have been very, very good. The goals each team is getting have to be really quality goals.

Q: As captain of this team, do you have certain responsibilities with this team?

A:
Just keep the guys loose. I think that's the main thing. Don't let guys feel the tension, feel the heat. When this team's loose, we're pretty dangerous.

Q: Do you sense that right now?

A:
What we sense this morning in meetings was guys feel good, guys feel confident. You just can't be afraid. You have to go out and play to win.

Q: Do you feel you need to be a catalyst in this game?

A:
Everybody does. In Game 7s, your best players have to be your best players to win the series.

Q: Is getting the power play going very important for Game 7?

A
: Our penalty kill has been superb. Our power play needs to be better. It hasn't been very good in this series. If we get a couple of power plays tomorrow and capitalize, win the game.

Q: How do you prevent Niemi from having to make 42 saves like he did in Game 6?

A:
We feel at home, we're really confident. You saw in Game 5, we carried the play. If we play like we do when we play at home, we'll be fine.

Q: Can we assume with the 3-3 tie in this series that these teams are as evenly matched as it gets?

A:
Yeah. You know, going into the series, I think everybody thought it was going to be pretty even series and it played out that way. Both teams are good teams and it's been a good series so far.

Q: Can you draw anything from playing Calgary in that Game 7 in 2008 in the Western Quarterfinals?

A:
Sure. It was a great game. We had a tough series, and I don't think there's a better feeling in hockey than going seven games and winning in front of your home fans.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

Playing for my favorite team growing up, I've probably scored that goal a million times in my driveway. It feels good to actually do it in real life.

— Dale Weise, who grew up a Canadiens fan, on scoring the overtime winner in Montreal's 5-4 victory against Tampa Bay in Game 1