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Sharks stunned to be facing elimination

by Eric Stephens
ANAHEIM – After a 4-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals Thursday night, the San Jose Sharks were at a loss for words.

In a disappointing effort, the top-seeded Sharks failed to generate any offense against the upstart Ducks for the second time in the series, which now has San Jose facing a 3-1 deficit heading back home for Game 5 Saturday (10 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS).

"We obviously lost a really important game," said goalie Evgeni Nabokov, who made 22 saves. "We have to find a way to score more goals. Every time they get the lead, they're a confident team. Somehow we have to avoid that."

Somehow, the Sharks must respond or see a season with franchise records for wins and points that fueled their Stanley Cup aspirations disappear in stunning fashion.

"We're down 3-1 to a team that's playing well," defenseman Dan Boyle said. "A lot of people believe we can probably come back. We need to focus on the guys in the locker room. We just have to show up with a desperate attitude. I think we were lacking that tonight.

"It's a turning point in the series tonight. We needed it more and we didn't get it."

The Sharks' struggles allowed Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller to register his second shutout in his first Stanley Cup Playoffs. The 27-year-old Swiss-born netminder stopped 31 shots.

Even though San Jose outshot Anaheim for the fourth consecutive game, it failed to get any from 38-goal scorer Patrick Marleau, who has just one point in the series.

Rob Blake had five shots on goal, while Joe Thornton and Christian Ehrhoff each had four, but none really came close to finding their way past Hiller. Sharks coach Todd McLellan didn't mince words afterward, calling the loss "a disappointment."

"I'm not surprised that they were hungry," McLellan continued. "I'm disappointed that we weren't. The only word I can use is disappointed. I think our character was questioned tonight and we'll have to see how we respond back in San Jose."
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