SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The San Jose Sharks under coach Todd McLellan reached the Western Conference Finals in 2010 and 2011 after winning Pacific Division crowns. They won the Presidents' Trophy for the first time in franchise history in 2008-09, McLellan's first season, with a team-record 117 points.
Yet, as the Sharks entered the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year as the No. 6 seed in the West, McLellan had a good feeling about his under-the-radar team that had to rally down the stretch just to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"Coming in, it felt a little bit different this year," McLellan said Tuesday, minutes after the Sharks beat Vancouver 4-3 in overtime to sweep their quarterfinal series. "In the past, you kind of felt the pressure. This year we didn't feel that way. … We're a loose group, playing free. Not a lot of expectations that are put on us from the outside that have been there in the past. And just a different group of characters that came through."