When the Sharks began their preparations for Game 2, they were displaying the looseness they had all year. The team was noticeably relaxed as they put on their gear for the bus ride from the Gaylord Entertainment Center to the practice facility a short 10-minute ride away. Team Teal doesn’t get overly excited about a victory nor do they get too down with a loss.
The recipe for success in Game 2 is simple.
“Everybody knows you can’t win a game from the penalty box,” said Ville Nieminen. “The offensive zone penalties were unacceptable.”
Still, the Sharks knew this was not a series that would be easy and that Nashville had the best home record in the NHL.
“We didn’t come here thinking we would win both games,” said Nieminen.
“We have to win three games at home and find a way to win one here,” said Ron Wilson.
And one game does not make a series. San Jose would prefer to be up 1-0, but they have bounced back all season when people were trying to count them out.
“It’s one-game and this is a seven-game series,” said Joe Thornton
. “We’ll go out and play well. There is no panic. We have a high degree of confidence in each other.”
“We’ve been through a lot of situations like this,” said Ron Wilson. “The past three months we’ve been facing situations like this and we’re pretty resilient.”
However, they know going down 2-0 can create a myriad of problems.
“A split is very important and that is what we want to do,” said Scott Thornton.
One positive for the Sharks in Game 1 was the offensive production from the McCauley and Smith lines, with each contributing a goal.
“Each player has to contribute and be the best they can be,” said Scott Thornton. “You need four lines fighting to be your best.”
San Jose is not going to reinvent the wheel, but rather refine their long-standing plan.
“We’re going to make some small adjustments, but we understand we need to play more five-on-five,” said Ron Wilson. “We’ll go to the net a little hungrier.”
The Predators managed to keep Cheechoo off the scoreboard, but the Joe Thornton
line did come up with a Nils Ekman goal and had numerous other opportunities.
“They had 10 shots on goals and a lot of scoring chances,” said Ron Wilson.
Nashville had a surprising advantage in the faceoff circle for Game 1, but the Sharks know they will have to bear down in that area as well.