Despite their 3-0 series lead over the Vancouver Canucks, the San Jose Sharks are maintaining their business-as-usual approach as they look to copmlete their series sweep of the Canucks at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. The team can smell the blood in the water and would like nothing more than to accomplish the first sweep in franchise history.
“We just play,” Joe Thornton simply stated to reporters following the Sharks morning skate. “We’ve been in a lot of series down 3-0. You just have to take it one game at a time.”
The Sharks had a 3-0 against the Detroit Red Wings, before letting it slip away with Detroit taking the next three forcing a pivotal Game Seven which the Sharks won narrowly. Thornton and the Sharks have also experienced a 3-0 deficit, when they were swept by the eventual 2010 Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks.
“I wouldn’t say we are comfortable. This series is a long way from being over. We know how desperate they are going to play. Their season’s on the line,” said Logan Couture, who leads the NHL in playoff scoring with three goals and three assists.
That experience is invaluable when it comes to keeping the group’s cool as they face a Canucks team with their backs against the wall.
“Having Stuart, Burish and Gomez adds an element on the ice and in the room that’s calming and obviously with the experience they have it’s backed up,” said Patrick Marleau of the three Sharks players with Stanley Cup rings on their resumes.
“Everybody has put their bodies on the line for the post-season. Scotty Hannan has been through a lot of wars and so has Brad so it’s nice having those guys around,” said Thornton. “Their veteran leadership goes a long way in the room and hopefully we will get the best out of them tonight.”
Moving on up
Brent Burns' move from defence to right-wing on the first line with Joe Thornton and TJ Galiardi has wowed many observers in this series. The 6’5” Ajax, Ontario, native not only set-up Raffi Torres’ Game Two overtime winner but is third on the Sharks in shots. However, it maybe his lighthearted, easy-going attitude that has had the biggest impact.
“We have so much fun together, we’re always laughing and talking on the bench” said Thornton of his linemate. “He’s a big force. I’ve been playing with him for a couple of months now, sometimes I still don’t know what he’s going to do. He’s wild out there but it makes it fun and real enjoyable to play with.”
Burns’ development into a formidable power forward may be catching the NHL by surprise, but don’t include his coach, Todd McLellan in that group. McLellan coached Burns in the AHL with the Houston Aeros where Burns often lined up as a forward.
“I felt good about him having the ability to do it, having done it in the past. The risk was whether he would accept that. He’s a team guy. He’s accepted it and it’s worked out for us,” McLellan said.
McLellan is not expected to make any line-up changes from the squad he iced for Game Three.