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McLellan lets Sharks know he expects more

by Curtis Zupke

ANAHEIM -- San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan left open the possibility of lineup changes after what he called "easily" the team's most disappointing loss of the season Saturday.

But San Jose had an optional skate Monday and the most McLellan revealed was that Ryane Clowe would not play against the Anaheim Ducks because of a reported shoulder injury, while indicating there were no call-ups. Antti Niemi will start in goal.

"We'll make some decisions on other players after that," McLellan said.

Clowe was injured in the first period of a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, after which McLellan questioned his team's motivation and effort. He was forced to mix and match lines because of Clowe's absence, but added it probably wouldn't have made a difference.

"Clowe wasn't there, but a lot of other guys weren't there, too," he said. "They happened to be dressed, but they weren't really playing. So we're trying to find different combinations, trying to find at least a couple of lines that could get going, and obviously we were unsuccessful at that."

The game is the first of three against Anaheim in the next nine days, and it's a pivotal one for a reeling Sharks team.

"Our [pre-game] meeting won't be much about systems play," McLellan said. "We'll give them the information that they need. We've played Anaheim so many times over the years that we know their personnel, we know what their strengths are … but all of that's irrelevant if we don't bring what we have and we don't put it on the ice."

Anaheim begins a telling stretch that includes San Jose, the Chicago Blackhawks in a huge game Wednesday (10 p.m. ET, NHLN-US) and the Detroit Red Wings twice in the next seven games.

"All playoff teams," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "All teams that, on any year, could be first. We'll find out if we're good, if we're real good, if we've been lucky or mediocre in the next eight games. It will be a real good true test."


Logan Couture - Joe Thornton - Brent Burns

Tommy Wingels - Patrick Marleau - Joe Pavelski

TJ Galiardi - Michal Handzus - Scott Gomez

Tim Kennedy - Adam Burish - James Sheppard

Matt Irwin - Dan Boyle

Douglas Murray - Brad Stuart

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Jason Demers

Antti Niemi

Alex Stalock

Scratched: Andrew Desjardins, Justin Braun

Injured: Ryane Clowe (shoulder), Martin Havlat (lower body)


Kyle Palmieri - Ryan Getzlaf - Teemu Selanne

Bobby Ryan - Peter Holland - Emerson Etem

Andrew Cogliano - Saku Koivu - Daniel Winnik

Matt Beleskey - David Steckel - Brad Staubitz

Sheldon Souray - Francois Beauchemin

Bryan Allen - Cam Fowler

Luca Sbisa - Toni Lydman

Viktor Fasth

Jonas Hiller

Scratched: Ben Lovejoy, Brandon McMillan

Injured: Nick Bonino (lower body)

Suspended: Corey Perry

Notes: Fasth was first off the ice for the Ducks. If he's the starter in goal, it would be his first start since an upper-body injury forced him out of the rotation for two games. Fasth stopped 25 of 26 shots in a Feb. 4 win against San Jose.

With Perry serving the third game of a four-game suspension, Boudreau adjusted his top forward units again as Palmieri skated on the top line with rookie Etem at second-line right wing.

Lydman came off with the regulars and likely will return to the lineup after being scratched the past two games. It appears Staubitz also will return, from a facial laceration injury, although he has not yet been activated from injured reserve.

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