Clearly giving up three goals on the first four shots was not the start the Sharks had in mind. That beginning led Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan to pull Antti Niemi
after the third tally. However, upon further review, not all the blame can be placed at Niemi’s skates.
While McLellan was frustrated with various aspects of San Jose’s play in Game 5, he wasn’t too aggravated over Niemi’s first nine minutes. “If you look at the goals, the first one was a heck of a deflection,” he said. “(Kyle) Clifford got his stick on it (Wayne Simmonds was credited with the goal). You have to give them that one.
“The second one, he makes a great save on a 2-on-1 that shouldn’t even exist,” McLellan added on the goal scored by Clifford. “If you don’t turn the puck over, the rebound doesn’t go in the net. So I’m not sure you finger the goaltender for that one. On the third one (by Dustin Penner), he’s fairly deep in his net and he knows that.”
So the changing of the guard in net was the easiest of options for the Sharks bench boss.
“At that point,” McLellan concluded, “we needed to change something. We had 18 skaters dressed. We weren’t going to change any of them, so we turned to the goaltender.”
McLellan’s decision didn’t surprise Niemi. “Not if you’ve given up three goals on four shots,” he said. “You’re hoping that’s not going to happen (the three goals coming so quickly), but sometimes it just happens.”
Niemi also agreed with McLellan’s assessment on Penner’s goal. “I had to be a little more challenging on the third one for sure,” he said.
“It’s just one of those games,” Niittymaki said.
No one knows who’ll get the start in net for Monday’s Game 6 in Los Angeles. But one thing’s for sure.
“You can’t expect goaltenders to stand on their head every night,” McLellan said.
As he did after Game 3, McLellan said he will take his time before deciding who he would put in for the next contest.
“We have one (a decision on who to start in net) every night to make,” McLellan said. “We feel we have two quality guys.”
tallied his second goal of the postseason in the second period and posted nine shots on goal.
WALLY PITCHING IN
Niclas Wallin posted his third point of the playoffs with an assist on Patrick Marleau
’s goal. The Sharks are one of three teams this postseason with three defensemen with three or more points [Ian White (5) and Dan Boyle
(3) are the others]. Nashville (4) and Philadelphia (3) are the other two teams.
Start time for Game 6 at the Staples Center on Monday is 7:00 pm.
SHARKS HEAD COACH TODD MCLELLAN
“When you look at the start to the night, three of the first four went in. If we expected another miracle we were kidding ourselves.”
“The power play let us down a little tonight and we had plenty of opportunities to finish.”
“Well the one thing with our group is we tend to play better when were not comfortable, so that’s now eliminated.”
KINGS HEAD COACH TERRY MURRAY
“Going into the game the whole conversation was about the checking part of the game. There is no question that they were going to come out with a lot of energy, a lot of emotion to try to close this series out here tonight. We knew that. We were prepared for that kind of attitude. I thought we were ok at the start of the game. Quick was of course good there at the start as he was throughout the game.”
“Whenever you get a team that’s pressing a lot. You have to show the defensive part of the game. You are going to recover some pucks; you are going to get your opportunities to attack. A lot of the time it ends up being an odd rush going the other way. You weather the storm in the early going and you come back and you get your opportunities and you cash in.”
“Jonathan Quick has always had the ability to come back with a real solid game. He can bounce back after goals that he wishes he could do over again. He’s always had that from the first time that I had him as a player in the NHL and we needed him here tonight.”