Friday night’s 4-3 loss in Game 4 allowed Detroit to extend the Western Conference Semifinal series another game, but the Sharks showed a lot of fortitude after falling behind 3-0 in the first period.
“We showed some heart, we showed some character, we fought back,” Dan Boyle
said. “Unfortunately at the end they showed more poise than we did and got the winning goal.”
“I liked the fact that we were resilient when we weren’t playing very well,” Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan said. “That’s a positive we’ll take from the game. We found a way to claw ourselves back into it.”
A magical comeback feeling was in the air when San Jose tied the affair, similar to Game 3 in Los Angeles in Round 1.
“It felt good when we scored in the third,” Clowe said of the club finding the tying goal. “I thought we (would) do it there.”
While happy with the consistent surge after they fell behind, no one was happy that they started so slowly.
“Again, early in the game, and even throughout the second period, we didn’t have very good legs tonight. It was hard to find six or seven guys that really skated well and Detroit (had more),” McLellan said. “They won a lot of races to loose pucks and they established body position over loose pucks and did a better job of it than we did. They deserve full marks for the win. They were the better team. We’ve got to go home and regroup and be better in that area.”
The players agreed with their bench boss.
“It’s funny because we harped so much about being good on the walls and having some composure early,” Clowe said. “It kind of went the opposite (way). We didn’t have our coverage and weren’t very good on the boards in our own end. They had a lot of momentum.”
“One could argue we lost that game the first 17-18 minutes,” Boyle said. “We were a little sloppy defensively and (they had) a couple of weird goals. A backwards spin-o-rama and a guy bats one out of the air. The second one, somehow I got tangled up.”
San Jose’s power play, which was so key in Game 3, couldn’t find the necessary luck when it had two third period opportunities to take the lead.
“We came back and kept going. We had a couple of power plays in the third and didn’t get too much. It would have been a good opportunity,” Clowe said. “The power play was there the last game and the PK was there tonight, so we’ve got to get them together.”
Upon first glance, there wasn’t much satisfaction in taking one of two in the Motor City.
“We wanted to finish it tonight,” Boyle said. “We won the first one here and I’m not happy with a split. I don’t think anyone in here is.”
Upon further review, the Sharks do have a prime opportunity to close out the powerful Wings at HP Pavilion.
“We have an opportunity to win at home,” McLellan said. “We’re going to learn from this one. We’re going to go back and work on our game tomorrow and be better. Recovery from a lopsided loss or one by one goal, it doesn’t matter. You lost the game and move on.”
“We came in here and got a split and we’re still in command 3-1,” Clowe said. “We won the last game and lost tonight in the last minute and we weren’t close to being on top of our game. Give them credit, they’re a good team.”
The Sharks squad knows they’ll need a strong start, no matter where Game 5 is played.
“We need to get back to work and use our home ice to our advantage and get back to starting quickly and playing well,” Boyle said.
Game 5 will be at 5 p.m. at HP Pavilion and will on Versus, 98.5/102.1 FM and www.sjsharks.com.