Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, who missed the last two games of the regular season resting a lower body injury, will probably make his 2008 postseason debut tonight.
During the 2007-08 season, Ehrhoff led the team with 108 blocked shots and was third amongst San Jose defensemen with 22 points.
“We’ve missed him greatly,” Wilson said. “Along with Brian Campbell, he’s our best skating defenseman. He’s also been our best defensive defenseman and plays a lot on the penalty kill.”
Besides Ehrhoff, rookie forward Devin Setoguchi will probably make his Stanley Cup Playoff debut tonight in his home province.
“I was told I’m playing,” said Setoguchi, who went through the same morning skate routine in San Jose only to end up being a scratch. “I’ll show up tonight and expect to go out and work.”
Wilson hopes Setoguchi brings energy to go with his skills.
“He has speed, he hits and he gets his shot off,” Wilson said. “He just had to bide his time to find a spot.”
The first playoff game is always a thrill. In Setoguchi’s case, he’ll have several family members and friends from his hometown of Taber, Alberta watching at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
“It’s going to be exciting,” Setoguchi said. “My family will be here. I’m more excited to help the team. I look forward to it being fast and physical.”
While Ehrhoff and Setoguchi could be in the lineup tonight, Wilson didn’t say who could be scratched.
TIME AND SPACE
One of Calgary’s primary goals in the postseason has been to limit the time the San Jose forwards and defensemen have the puck.
|San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton, left, is defended by Calgary Flames defenseman David Hale. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) |
“They’re taking away time and space and I’ll have to create my own space,” center Joe Thornton
said. “When you’re down 2-1, you have to do a little more.”
The Sharks will be careful not to make too much of their current deficit and will focus on playing “Sharks Hockey.”
“We just have to go out and do what we did all year,” Thornton said.
“Tonight, we’ll look to get back to doing what we do best,” defenseman Craig Rivet said. “I don’t think we need any drastic changes. Just being better in a few areas.”
MY KINGDOM FOR A SHOT ON GOAL
Left wing Milan Michalek hasn’t recorded a shot in the first three games. He hopes to change things tonight.
“I have to play better and work harder,” he said. “I have to go to the dirty areas to find goals.”
Wilson doesn’t understand why Michalek hasn’t recorded a shot, but wants to make sure he’s contributing in other ways.
“Why he has no shots is hard to figure out,” Wilson said. “If you have no shots, there are other ways you can be contributing, like blocking shots. f you start worrying about shots, you forget the other details.”
MORE POWER PLAY FIXING
San Jose has made some adjustments to improve their power play. The Sharks have converted on just two of 17 chances in this series.
“Joe’s got to move more, we can’t (always) go to the same spot,” Wilson said. “We have to do a better job getting to loose pucks. We can talk about it, but we have to do it.”
And while San Jose has won at least 50 percent of their faceoffs in two of the first three games, Wilson knows his team can do better.
“It would help if we dug in and won faceoffs,” Wilson said. “If you lose the faceoff, you take 25-30 seconds to recover and set up. Second, we have to move better. The third step is to be patient. We’re not solving it in 20 seconds.”
A MEANS TO AN END
Calgary’s big hitting game is the talk in Alberta. However, if the Sharks can get the job done effectively, Calgary’s physical game won’t be a problem.
“Taking the hit is part of getting the puck out,” defenseman Brian Campbell said.
The Sharks are fully aware of the numbers game and they have a much better shot at a series
|San Jose Sharks defenseman Kyle McLaren, right, celebrates with goalie Evgeni Nabokov, of Kazakhstan, after a win over the Calgary Flames in an NHL hockey Western Conference playoff series in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, April 10, 2008. San Jose won 2-0. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) |
outcome favoring them if they take Game Four. Entering this year’s postseason, teams have trailed 3-1 in a best-of-seven series 219 times. Only 20 teams (or slightly more than nine percent) have rallied to win the series.
“We don’t want to go back to San Jose down 3-1,” defenseman Kyle McLaren said. ”We have our work cut out for us to go back 2-2.”
That well-worn sports cliché, “Taking it one game at a time,” has never taken on a bigger meaning.
“You can’t look at it as being up 2-1 or being down 2-1,” Rivet said. “You take it game-by-game and tonight we’ll look to get back to doing what we do best.”
A win would give San Jose a chance to finish the series by taking two of three at home.
“We still have to win four and we have the opportunity to tie the series and regain home ice advantage,” Wilson said.
Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at HP Pavilion and will be on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.