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Sharks approaching Game 3 like it's Game 7

by Dave Lozo / NHL.com
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- With all due respect to the three teams who have won best-of-seven series after falling into 3-0 holes, the San Jose Sharks are treating Game 3 Friday against the Vancouver Canucks (9 p.m. ET, Versus, CBC, RDS) with as much urgency as possible.

"We've got to win tonight," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said Friday morning. "We're going into this game like it's a Game 7. It's a must-win."

The Sharks are in a 2-0 hole after dropping both games in Vancouver. They held leads in both contests, giving them confidence that they can pull themselves back into the series with these two games here at HP Pavilion.

Despite recent history showing a 3-0 series deficit isn't entirely insurmountable -- the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Boston Bruins last year after going down 0-3, while the Blackhawks and Red Wings pushed the Canucks and Sharks, respectively, to a seventh game after dropping the first three games of their series this year -- the Sharks feel that a loss Friday would mean the end of their season.

"I think when you're in the playoffs, if you have the approach that Game 1 is like Game 7 and Game 2 is like Game 7, I think that's a real good indicator of intensity and focus." -- Todd McLellan

"It's not a must-win by definition, but it certainly is, if that makes any sense," defenseman Dan Boyle said. "We're in a situation where we just need a win. We can't win the series tonight, but we're going to get ourselves back into it."

"We have to win. That's how I look at this game," rookie forward Logan Couture said. "We can't go down 0-3."

Coach Todd McLellan didn't tip his hand during Friday's practice, but said afterward he's considering some lineup and/or line changes to give his a team a spark. When asked if he was on board with his players' philosophy that Game 3 is a Game 7, he responded in the affirmative.

"I think when you're in the playoffs, if you have the approach that Game 1 is like Game 7 and Game 2 is like Game 7, I think that's a real good indicator of intensity and focus," McLellan said. "Our job is to just win Game 3, however we want to approach it from a mental perspective. We know we're going to play Game 4. We'd like to play it with a record of 1-2 versus 0-3.

"But we can't look ahead. We have to deal with today."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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