There are some positives to pull from the Sharks performance in Game Two on Tuesday. Patrick Marleau
is responsible for two of them.
San Jose’s left wing scored both his fourth and fifth goal of the playoffs in the Sharks 4-2 loss to the Blackhawks. After going down 3-0 in the second, Marleau converted on the power play and then added the final tally of the game on a wrist shot in the third period.
Marleau’s first goal came after Blackhawks center Dave Bolland was sent to the box for holding Dany Heatley at 10:06 of the second. A minute into the power play, Joe Thornton
delivered a cross-ice pass to Marleau’s stick and the 30-year-old one-timed it in for the Sharks first goal of the game.
The Sharks needed that goal. It put some life back in HP Pavilion. It gave San Jose hope.
“I think we had a little bit of momentum after that,” said Marleau. “We tried to get back to one goal down and we had some chances after that, but we didn’t get them.”
The Blackhawks responded with an even strength goal at 6:18 of the third period, cancelling out San Jose’s hopes of cutting the deficit to one. So when Marleau added his second goal with less than five minutes remaining in the game, the Sharks were still two tallies behind.
After logging 23:38 of ice time (second on the team) and extending his point streak to six games (four goals, three assists), Marleau admitted he wasn’t content with the game. The strength of the team’s success lies on more than one man.
“It just comes down to wins right now,” Marleau said. “We have to win as a club. We have to get better.”
Marleau continued to talk about the changes the team needs to make going into The United Center on Friday.
“We didn’t win so there are things we need to work on, address, and change for Game Three,” said Marleau. “There were a handful of times where we didn’t get the puck in deep. That’s what led to their transition the other way. I don’t think we caused enough havoc in their end.”
Now all the focus turns to Game Three. Although Head Coach Todd McLellan said it’s not a “must win” game, the Sharks need to remember the good, learn from the bad and try to score the first goal when the step onto the ice in Chicago on Friday.
“You saw what the first goal did to our hockey club tonight,” said McLellan. “It took some of the energy out of the building, it took a lot of energy out of our team and it took us a while to get our heads up again,” said McLellan in his postgame press conference. “If we can have that start in their building and try to quiet everything down and play with some energy early, it certainly helps.”
“We know we have an uphill battle now,” added Marleau. “It’s a good challenge for our club and a great opportunity to come back.”
The Sharks weren’t happy with falling down 0-2 and discussed the matter postgame.
“Things were addressed here after,” said Captain Rob Blake after the contest. “That’s based on emotion. It’s good and it will be good.”
The referees handed out a few minutes in penalties as the game wound down, but it showed neither team was giving an inch, no matter what the scoreboard said late.
“That stuff is going to happen,” said Blake.
With two assists, Dan Boyle
set a new personal high for points in a single postseason (12). He also moved into a tie for first in the NHL overall with Chris Pronger, Sergei Gonchar and Dennis Wideman in defensemen scoring this postseason. The points also extend his team lead and move him into fourth in the league overall (tied with Evgeni Malkin) in power play points this postseason (8).
Dany Heatley collected his team-leading 10th assist of the postseason. Joe Thornton
’s ninth assist of the postseason ties him with Boyle for second on the team. His 12 points ties him with Heatley for second on the team overall.
The Sharks will travel to Chicago for Game Three of the Western Conference Finals on Friday, May 21 at 5:00 PM (Pacific). The game will be available on VERSUS, 98.5 KFOX FM and SJSHARKS.com.