Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson more than hinted that Edmonton will see a different lineup in Game 4 than they did in Game 3 of the 2006 Playoffs presented by Intersil.
The first change will be the return of Milan Michalek who missed Game 3 due to a questionable hit from Raffi Torres in Game 2 at HP Pavilion. Michalek’s eye may still be black and blue, with some visible blood showing on the white of his eye, but he had been deemed fit to play.
“Milan’s playing tonight,” said Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson. “We missed his presence. He plays strong defense and he skates the puck out of trouble. We need him in the lineup.”
Michalek may not be the only change as Wilson has noted that Scott Parker could also play in the affair.
“We’ll have a lot of guys in warm-ups and see then,” said Wilson. “(If he plays), I would expect him to play and hit hard.”
As the Oilers continue to hunt for ways to score goals, there has been talk that they will begin shooting high on Vesa Toskala.
“I don’t mind if they go high, then I can get the puck in my hands,” said Toskala.
The Finnish netminder showed in Game 3 that he would not buckle from the noise of Rexall Place.
“I try to block all the noise out of my head,” said Toskala. “This is a time to enjoy the game and stay relaxed.”
The ice was tilted in Toskala’s direction for much of Game 3’s first period, but the Sharks hope to change that in Game 4.
“We’d like a quicker start,” said Joe Thornton
. “We had a terrible start the other night and we hope we can come out strong and get some shots and traffic on Roloson.”
The traffic in front of the crease will be extremely important.
“Both teams are talking about traffic, but if the goalies see the puck, they are going to stop it,” said Wilson. “We can’t anticipate Roloson having a bad night.”
Wilson reiterated that when the traffic turns into goaltender interference, Toskala needs to inform the referees in the same manner that Roloson has been complaining.
“We’re told not to fall on the goalie in the paint,” said Wilson. “How many times has Ryan Smyth fallen on the goalie? I hope they protect both goalies.”
The Oilers’ home crowd provided a loud environment, but the Sharks now know what to prepare for.
“Now that we’ve experienced it, we have to counter that surge of energy,” said Wilson. “We have to execute, and if not, we’ll be on the receiving end of things early and often.”
WATCHING FROM A DISTANCE
There is a lot of hype that Grant Stevenson’s grandfather is Glenn Hall, one of the best netminders in the history of the game. While Stevenson’s famous relative watched the Sharks morning skate on Wednesday, he jettisoned back to Spruce Grove, Alberta for the telecast instead of watching in the arena.
“He came to the morning skate, but not the game,” said Stevenson. “He can stay home and watch it comfortably without all the people around.”
The Sharks were handled in the faceoff circle in Game 3 61-39 percent, but Wilson hopes that will change for the Friday night contest.
“We have to tie them up and bring in the Calvary,” said Wilson, alluding to the fact that the wingers have to help the pivotmen battle for loose pucks.