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Conference Final

Sharks looking to find consistency against Blues in Game 3

San Jose wants to match St. Louis' desperation level after failing to extend lead in Western Final

by Mike Zeisberger @Zeisberger / NHL.com Staff Writer

SAN JOSE -- Peter DeBoer doesn't believe the San Jose Sharks need to make major changes to their game plan heading into Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN360, TVAS).

The Blues tied the best-of-7 series 1-1 with a 4-2 victory in Game 2 in San Jose on Monday after playing a more compressed style in the neutral zone that didn't allow the Sharks to carry the same type of speed into the offensive zone as they did in a 6-3 win in Game 1.

DeBoer said he expects to tweak a number of things as a countermeasure, but nothing significant.

"I think you get down to the last four teams, the margins are small," the Sharks coach said. "It's all little things. We looked at the video today and they are all little things that we can fix and where we can help ourselves. It's all about getting those corrections in place and resetting and throwing your best game at them in Game 3."

 

[RELATED: Complete Sharks vs. Blues series coverage]

 

For Sharks forward Logan Couture, that's the frustrating part.

"We haven't played our best game yet and I don't know why," he said, reiterating comments he made after Game 2. "We've had spells, sure, but nothing we've been able to maintain."

Couture points to the fact that the Sharks have not won consecutive games since Games 6 and 7 against the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round.

"And even in that series, in Game 6 when we beat them in (double) overtime, there's no way we win without [goalie Martin Jones] stopping [58] shots," Couture said. "We just need to be more consistent. Part of that is the fact that we're playing against quality opponents, but part of it is we're not executing.

"[DeBoer] tells us that all the time, 'When we execute, the plan works.'"

Video: Pang reacts to Blues' 4-2 win vs. Sharks in Game 2

DeBoer also is a huge believer that teams pick up their intensity after falling behind in a series like the Blues did.

"Desperation level is a big key for me," he said. "When you get to the end, everybody's systems are in a good place, there's very few mistakes, there's very little room, there's very little free-up offense. A lot of time it comes to that desperation level of when the puck is lying there, who is getting that puck?

"It's hard to recreate that feeling of, 'Oh boy, we're in a 2-0 hole' or 'Oh boy, we can be eliminated tonight.' That's what everyone is trying to do.

"This is the best time of year. Where else would you want to be? They've played one less game (15) than us (16). There's no one rolling through the playoffs here. … Everybody's got some wear on the tires."

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