The Sharks laid everything on the line in Friday’s Game 3 against Chicago. They battled, they grinded, the excelled, but they couldn’t find the winning goal despite a monumental effort. The epic battle between the elite level clubs concluded when Chicago found the overtime winner to take the 3-2 decision and a commanding 3-0 series lead. The effort was definitely there for San Jose, if not the results.
“I was really happy with the way our team played to a man,” said Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan. “Whether it was the goaltender, D-men or forwards. I can't walk in the dressing room tomorrow and approach that group and say they didn't give an effort, they didn't work hard, they didn't give us everything they had. It's pretty simple: it just didn't go our way tonight.”
Effort was not on the minds of the Sharks players in the lockerroom.
“We didn’t get it done,” said Dan Boyle
. “We missed a lot of chances to score. We missed quite a few in overtime too. They are an opportunistic team and they capitalized on their chances. That’s the name of the game.”
Even when Chicago pulled ahead by a goal in the third, the Sharks would not quit and found a way to force the extra stanza.
“We were fine with the emotions,” said Rob Blake. “We stayed in the game and gave ourselves an opportunity. It didn’t go our way, but I don’t think we’d change a lot for Sunday.”
“It thought our third period was one of our best periods we played (this playoffs),” said Evgeni Nabokov. “We were in desperation and I thought we played like a desperate team. We have to look at the positives. We played well, but we have to find a way to win. It’s not easy to do, but we have to find a way.”
“Unfortunately it didn’t go our way there, but we’ll stick to as much as we can with that game plan.”
Had Chicago been hammering the Sharks for three games, the optimism might not be what it is, but San Jose has been in all three games.
“That we’ve been in the series for every minute, that has to leave us feeling good,” said McLellan. “We know we’re in a hole and we have to dig our way out.”
There is something to be said for Philadelphia rallying from three games down to win a series in the second round. However, the Sharks aren’t looking at the next possible four games.
“We’ve got to win one game,” said Blake. “You don’t look at the big picture. We dug ourselves a hole, don’t get me wrong. We put ourselves into this, but we have a day to regroup and we’ll come here Sunday afternoon with one thing on our mind and that’s to win that game.”
The Sharks will try to come out with even a little more fire as now they are in a must win situation.
“It’s win or go home,” said Boyle. “It’s a tough loss, but we’ll come back. This lockerroom is not going to quit.”
“We know that we’re not done,” said Nabokov. “We know we will battle and that it is far from over. If you look at how the games have been going, it could be one way or the other. We’re not going to quit, that is for sure.”
The game of hockey is not an easy one and the Sharks know they must find a way.
“Can it happen more than one time in a playoffs, why not?” said Clowe. “All we can do is win (Sunday) and take it back to San Jose.”
The final goal was tough to swallow as the only two previous Chicago goals scored on the night were via a power play and a quirky breakaway created off a perfect bounce off a blocked shot. Yet the overtime winner was from a player wide open in the slot and Nabokov had no hope.
“It was a breakdown in D zone coverage,” said McLellan. “They did a really good job of keeping the puck alive at the blueline. Byfuglien got lost out high out in the zone and one-timed it into the net. I don't know if we can blame one individual. Collectively, we shouldn't have allowed the puck to come in there free. And we've got to be aware of the shooter. The guy behind the net is not dangerous. Always the guy in the slot is.”
“It was a pretty quick play,” said Nabokov. “The pass was behind the net and I didn’t have much time to react.”
DOUBLE DOUBLEPatrick Marleau
has now scored two goals in each of the last two games.
“The way he is competing, he is battling his (butt) off right now,” said Ryane Clowe
. “He’s skating, finishing his hits and just leading by example. If anything, he’s setting a good tone and guys are following.”
The coaching staff is noticing as well.
“I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Patty play for (about) 160 games and that’s as good as I’ve seen him play,” said McLellan. “Determined, committed, working hard all over the rink. I’m real proud of him. He needs to bring it again.”
Game 4 will be at NOON Sunday on NBC, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.