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Confident Sharks feel they're still on right road

San Jose takes 2-1 series lead into Game 4 in Nashville

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / NHL.com Director, Editorial

NASHVILLE -- Not much went right for the San Jose Sharks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Nashville Predators.

Their power play went 0-for-4, their penalty kill allowed two goals, and the Sharks, thanks to some undisciplined play, gave up four goals in a row in a 4-1 loss to the Predators on Tuesday.

But San Jose leads the best-of-7 series 2-1 entering Game 4 at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN, TVA Sports 2), and when the puck drops, expect a confident Sharks team, which rested Wednesday instead of practicing, to take the ice.

"We were in the exact same spot in the [first round series against the Los Angeles Kings] as we are sitting here, today except we were at home, and I think we are more comfortable on the road than we are at home," Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said after a team meeting. "Again, we are in a good position, but that doesn't mean we are going to win [Thursday]. We might come out of here 2-2.

"This is going to be a tough series. They've shown even in the games we have won that they are a very good team. We've got to settle in here, this could be a very long series. The bottom line is winning four, however long that takes, and we have to be ready to do that."

DeBoer said he trusts the Sharks to reset because he has seen it happen all season. They lost Game 3 against the Kings at SAP Center, and some nerves crept in. The Sharks won the next two games to knock out the Kings; San Jose won four in a row before the loss Tuesday.

Video: Josi, Rinne and Ekholm talk between Games 3 and 4

The Sharks believe they played better at even strength in Game 3 than they did in their 3-2 victory in Game 2.

But San Jose's special teams, which had been a bedrock this spring, were an issue. The power play was 3-for-5 in the first two games of this series but went 0-for-4 in Game 3. Nashville's power play, dormant since the start of the postseason, scored two goals in five chances.

Sharks center Joe Thornton said the battle level could be higher. Captain Joe Pavelski would like to see them get back to the little details on the forecheck and in the transition game.

"I think 5-on-5, just kind of getting more pucks to the net, getting big bodies, obviously [Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne] is a good, quality goaltender," San Jose defenseman Brenden Dillon said. "If he sees it, he's going to make the saves; whether it's getting those second and third whacks at it on rebounds, or just a little bit more traffic in general."

The Sharks have not lost back-to-back road games since Dec. 18-20, and DeBoer said he has no doubt they will be ready to play Thursday.

"I think one of the strengths of our group is recognizing what we are not doing well and getting it fixed for the next night," he said. "I'm confident that will happen."

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