The big question at the Sharks morning skate before Game 4 in Denver was will Dany Heatley play in the contest. The question remains unanswered for now, but there is still a chance as Heatley did take part in the morning drills. At his post practice media scrum, Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan said the answer would have to wait.
“Dany will be a game time decision,” said McLellan. “He feels much better today than he did two days ago. Every day he’s improving.”
Heatley was positive when he spoke with the media.
“Good, I feel good today,” said Heatley. “We’ll see tonight, but I feel good this morning.”
Heatley acknowledged it was hard watching Game 3 from a spectator’s perspective.
“It is always tough to sit out,” said Heatley. “I thought we played really well the last game. We have to do the same tonight. Just keep doing what we’re doing.”
If Heatley skates and rejoins Patrick Marleau
and Joe Thornton
, the group hopes to keep getting the chances they had previously and to help the rest of the club solve Craig Anderson.
“It’s just getting quality chances and those are going to eventually go in the net,” said Heatley.
“I think we’re playing really, really well,” said Joe Thornton
. “The last game was one of the best games we’ve played in a long, long time. As long as we stay patient and do the same things, we’ll score.”
The Sharks seem to be pretty cool customers as they have a realistic view of how close they have been to winning an additional game or two.
“Everybody in this lockerroom is extremely confident,” said Thornton. “We know we are playing really good hockey and feel good about ourselves.”
“I think the players believe in the way we’re playing, they believe it’s the right way, it’s just a matter of getting it done,” said McLellan. “Again, it’s about taking that confidence and putting it on the ice and producing. We feel if we continue to play as hard as we’re playing we’ll get one eventually and it may lead to two and three. I think we’re in a good place right now.”
“If you’re watching our game, we’re playing fast hockey and getting a lot of pucks to the net,” said Clowe. “If we can get one early, I think we’ll be good.”
McLellan doesn’t want his team pressing and starting to do go outside their comfort zone.
“The tendency is guys want to do a little too much, they want to hit home runs instead of singles and when that happens things can go the other way,” said McLellan.
Whether it is the crazy bounce off Marc-Edouard Vlasic
’s face in Game 2, or the unusual ending to Game 3, the Sharks have not scored first yet in the series.
FIT FOR CLOWE
The way the series is going physically almost makes it tailor made for the way Ryane Clowe
plays the game, with a strong mix of skill and strength. Clowe seems to be matched up with the Avs Adam Foote a lot, a player who tries to bring the physical game himself and is doing whatever he can to hold up Clowe and the Sharks.
“It really gets you in the game, gets you breathing heavy and kind of psyched,” said Clowe. “I like that part of the game. It’s playoff hockey. I’ve had some good matchups with Foote out there. He’s always the right D and I’m always the left winger. He usually matched up with our line, but that’s fun though. It’s an individual battle, but there are a lot of those going on out there.”
Clowe is going with the flow of the game and how it is being called.
That’s one thing about the playoffs, it’s easy to get frustrated when the guy is holding you or interfering, but you just battle through it,” said Clowe. “I think all the guys like the physical play.”
A lot has been made of the speed of Colorado versus the size of San Jose, but the Sharks have plenty of speed on their side of the puck with players like Devin Setoguchi, Patrick Marleau
, Torrey Mitchell
and others. Mitchell missed a good chunk of games early, but seems to be flying as fast as ever now.
“I feel good, probably the best I’ve felt all year,” said Mitchell.
The power play can be a difference maker as San Jose went 2-7 in their victory, but 0-8 in the two losses.
“A goal,” said McLellan about what the man advantage units could do differently. “We’ve played in their zone, we’ve had some good looks. We’ve had 38 shots on goal in our last two games on the power play. It’s not like we’re not shooting or not getting people to the net. It’s not like we’re not in their zone. There are some really good things about the power play, but ultimately just like winning games in the playoffs, the power play has to produce in the playoffs. It’s about goals and not just chances.”
Game 4 will take place at 7 p.m. and will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.