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Ramping Up For Game Two

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks
When the Sharks arrived at practice on Thursday, they were putting Game 1 behind them and preparing for Game 2 on Friday night.


“Tomorrow is a new game and whether we played good or played bad (in Game 1) we have to move on,” said Douglas Murray. “We can’t get too high or too low.”

“We’ve got a good, veteran team and we’ve got to do what we’ve done all year long and just stick to it,” said Joe Thornton.

Scott Nichol is in his first playoff battle wearing the teal and is excited for Game 2.

“We’re a great team and there is no doubt in our minds,” said Nichol. “We’ve just got to go execute and play with a little jam.”

“This is a seven game series and we knew coming in it isn’t an easy task,” said Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan.

The team knows they missed an opportunity at home to take an early series lead, but the club is veteran enough not to fluctuate their plan based on one game. They also know, that while Game 2 is not a must win, it would be an important win.

“It would feel better going to their building tied rather than going down two,” said Patrick Marleau. “A must win is Game 7, but they are all important.”

“You want to get a win at home,” said Joe Thornton.

San Jose has a lot they can build on from the first 60 minutes of the series, most notably their ability to play a strong defensive game. On Wednesday night, San Jose was able to eliminate a lot of scoring chances for the Avalanche and held Colorado to just one goal for more than 59 minutes.

“Let’s not forget Nabby made some great saves on their first shots and on rebounds as well,” said Murray.

“Both teams played good defense,” said Marc-Edouard Vlasic. “Whoever plays better defense wins.”

“I didn’t see us under siege a lot,” said McLellan. “It’s like baseball though, you’ve got to give the pitcher some run support.”

NEUTRAL ZONE
As far as what the Sharks can improve on from Game 1, they hadn’t changed their view point that their offensive decisions in the neutral zone were the deciding factor. San Jose feels if they are better at dumping the puck in and chasing after it, they will force the Avalanche defense further back and in turn create more chances off the rush.

“If we go through slow like yesterday, we’ll be chasing our own tail again,” said McLellan.

Still, if the puck is tossed where Colorado netminder Craig Anderson can reach it, that play won’t work either.

“We’ve got to keep it away from him, he’ll come out and play it all the time,” said Vlasic.

Once the puck is in the zone, then the Sharks want Anderson to see a lot of the vulcanized rubber.

“We need quantity and then we’ll worry about the quality,” said McLellan about getting more shots through. “There were not many shots from our D.”

“Throw it at the net,” said Vlasic.

Should the Sharks find a way to create the offensive zone battles for loose pucks and be out front fighting for rebounds off saved shots, they will likely find an uptick on their two power play opportunities from Game 1. San Jose earned just two power plays on the game, coming up empty on both, while Colorado went 1-2.

“I think we had five or six shots on the first power play,” said Vlasic. “If (the first shot gets through) there can be second and third opportunities. The special teams can win or lose the series. If we can get opportunities on the power play and can score, we can be up 1-0 and the momentum of the game shifts.”

MORE
McLellan was direct in saying that some players were at a high level, but that others could step it up a little.

“There are some individuals on our team who could give us more,” said McLellan.

GAME 2 STATS
Below is some great info by John Dellapina of nhl.com.

It has always been my personal opinion that Game 2 is the far more indicative of the opening pair in a best-of-seven series. Basically, if you follow up a Game 1 win with another, you've take a firm grip on a series. If you rebound from a Game 1 loss with a Game 2 win, you've rebooted the series and have momentum. And if you lose Game 2 after losing Game 1, you've dug yourself a deep hole.

Here are the stats:

In NHL best-of-seven series, the winner of Game 2 has gone 381-150 -- winning 71.8 percent of the series. Game 1 winners have gone 367-164 -- a 69.1 percent winning percentage.

Teams that have won both games to go up, 2-0, have gone 254-37 -- 87.2 percent.

Game 2 winners who lost Game 1 have gone 127-113 (52.9 percent). In contrast -- and fairly obviously -- teams that have won Game 1 but lost Game 2 have gone 113-127 (47.1 percent).

As if the stats weren't proof enough there's this anecdotal evidence: Whenever we'd go up to Kevin Lowe after the Rangers lost yet another series-opening playoff game (they lost 10 straight series openers from the '94 EC Final through the 2006 EC Quarter), he'd just laugh and say: "The series doesn't even begin until Game 2." As he won six Cups, I tended to believe him.

By the way, the Rangers won six of those 10 series.

SKATING
McLellan was asked about a potential coaching duel between himslef and Joe Sacco.

“I don’t think we are putting the skates on,” stated McLellan.

EMMYS
The San Francisco/Northern California Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has recognized Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and Comcast SportsNet California with a combined 25 Emmy Award nominations in 14 categories, the most-ever for Northern California’s leading sports television networks. The announcement was made today by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

The Sharks broadcasts crew of Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda, along with Brodie Brazil, were in on the nominees in the On-Camera Talent – Sports Play-by-Play category.

NEXT GAME
San Jose and Colorado will tussle in Game 2 at 7:30 on Friday at HP Pavilion. Limited tickets will go on sale at 1 p.m. on Friday at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.

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