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Sharks will be 'ready to go' against Blues in Game 5

Look to avoid sluggish start, make it more difficult on Binnington

by Tracey Myers @Tramyers_NHL / Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS -- The San Jose Sharks aren't concerned about the early start time against the St. Louis Blues for Game 5 of the Western Conference Final at SAP Center on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

"We've started at every possible time so far these playoffs," Sharks forward Barclay Goodrow said of the noon local start Saturday. "It's something we're used to. We're used to late games, early games, it's something you adapt to. We'll be ready to go."


[RELATED: Complete Sharks vs. Blues series coverage]


But the Sharks weren't ready to go for Game 4 at St. Louis, a 2-1 loss that evened the best-of-7 series. Blues forward Ivan Barbashev scored 35 seconds into the first period following a turnover by Sharks defenseman Brent Burns, one of 11 giveaways by San Jose.

Video: Blues win Game 4, even series with Sharks

"We've got to be a little firmer, a little more direct with our play early," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "Having said that, first goal goes in off our stick (forward Gustav Nyquist), we take a couple of penalties and it snowballs. You know they're going to come out pushing hard, they're desperate. I think we have to handle that better. It's been a bit of a problem throughout the playoffs for us, and we found a way to survive it. But we've got to be smarter."

The Sharks are 1-4 when trailing after the first period in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We have to do a better job," Nyquist said. "But coming home, being at the Shark Tank, Game 5 of the Conference Final, we'll be ready to go."

The Sharks are 7-3 at home this postseason, and if they're going to improve that record, they'll need to play more like they did in the second and third periods of Game 4, when they had more zone time, drew four penalties, and in the final minutes again had good, sustained pressure that forced the Blues into icing the puck.

"We had them hemmed in for a few line changes, a few cycles for our line," Goodrow said. "It would have been nice to capitalize on some goals during that time, but it's good to see the forwards maintain the forecheck and be hard in there. We just need to find a way to turn that into goals."

That means making things tougher on Blues rookie goalie Jordan Binnington, who made 29 saves in Game 4. 

"We had some good chances and we can get a little better," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said Friday. "If we can get him moving a little bit, some of our opportunities [might go]."

The Sharks are confident that if they can accomplish that, they will win at home. 

"This is supposed to be hard," DeBoer said. "What happened with (the Boston Bruins sweeping the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final), that usually doesn't happen. Usually these are all six, seven hard-fought games, hard-fought series. We're right where I expected we would be, in a good spot going home, and we've got to get the job done."

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