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Sharks still confident as they prepare for Game 7

by Eric Gilmore

SAN JOSE -- Three years ago, the San Jose Sharks were one loss away from the making the wrong kind of Stanley Cup Playoff history.

The Sharks took a 3-0 lead in their second-round series against the Detroit Red Wings, but the Red Wings won the next three, forcing a Game 7 at San Jose. The Sharks won 3-2 and avoided becoming the fourth team in NHL history to lose a best-of-7 series after taking a 3-0 lead.

The Sharks find themselves in a similar situation this spring after bolting to a 3-0 lead then losing three straight to the Los Angeles Kings in their Western Conference First Round series. Game 7 is Wednesday night at SAP Center (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS2, PRIME, CSN-CA), and the Sharks are drawing heavily on their 2011 experience against the Red Wings

"Just that we were a confident bunch," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said when asked what he recalled about the victory. "We felt like our game was missing in a couple games, but then we slowly got it back. This year is kind of the same way. I think our game kind of went missing for a couple games. Last night we saw what we can do. So, we're a confident group in here."

The Sharks lost 4-1 to Los Angeles in Game 6, but the game was tied 1-1 until Kings forward Justin Williams scored a controversial goal at 11:56 of the third period. The Kings quickly added two more goals to put the game away.

Sharks forward Joe Pavelski was on the ice for more than 20 minutes in that Game 7 victory against the Red Wings.

"It was a lesson that we learned," Pavelski said. "We understand guys will be ready to play. Should make for a fun night."

Forward Patrick Marleau wants to come out with the same kind of effort they showed in Games 1 and 2, when they beat L.A. by the combined score of 13-5.

"Same situation," Sharks forward Patrick Marleau said. "We were able to come out on top again. It's going to take a full team effort and we're looking for those efforts that we had in Games 1 and 2."

The Sharks got off to a fast start against Detroit, getting goals from Devin Setoguchi and Logan Couture to take a 2-0 first-period lead. After Henrik Zetterberg cut San Jose's lead to 2-1 with a second-period goal, Marleau ripped a rebound into the back of the net at 12:12 of the third for what turned out to be the game-winner.

"It would be nice to get another one, that's for sure," Marleau said.

Marleau said what he most remembers about that Game 7 against Detroit was the atmosphere at the Shark Tank.

"How loud it was, how crazy it was and how intense the game [was]," Marleau said.

Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart was on the other side in 2011 as a member of the Red Wings.

"I just remember you're down 3-0 and it seemed like it happened so fast and then the next thing we're going into Game 7," Stuart said. "Things happened quickly. I do recall going into that game feeling good. I felt like we had momentum, but the Shark Tank's a tough building to win in. We've got to make sure we remember that and make sure that's the case."

Stuart said the fans had an effect on that game, especially after San Jose jumped to an early lead.

"You're on the road, you fall behind," Stuart said. "All of a sudden the crowd's pretty intense. It almost does seem like it makes it a little tough. It will be our job to make sure that we're giving them that opportunity."

Thornton is counting on that same kind of fans support Wednesday.

"You get one shot at this," Thornton said. "Our fans are going to be great. You want to start fast and push them back. That's our plan right now."

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