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Sharks Carry New Look, New Attitude from Game 4 Performance

Sporting a New Haircut, Captain Joe Pavelski Sparks an Offensive Outburst

by Ross McKeon / sjsharks.com

Joe Pavelski showed up for Game 4 with a new 'do, and a whole new attitude. Sporting a freshly coiffed Mohawk haircut, the Sharks captain had the look and feel that things just might be different in a series his team had struggled to break out in the first three games.

Pavelski took matters into his own hands early, too, by setting a franchise mark with the earliest goal at the outset of a playoff game - tipping a Justin Braun drive masterfully past Edmonton goalie Cam Talbot just 15 seconds after the opening faceoff - as San Jose rediscovered its mojo during a 7-0 series-tying victory in Game 4 on Tuesday.

Video: Power play fuels Sharks' Game 4 rout of Oilers

Pavelski was as all over the ice as he was on the score sheet. He led the offense with two goals and a primary assist on the first of Logan Couture's pair of goals for a series-high three-point night. Four of Pavelski's seven shot attempts were on net, he was credited with one hit, blocked a shot and won six of 11 draws on a night San Jose dominated in the circle to the tune of 59 percent.

Not to be overlooked, Pavelski drew three penalties as he became a target for Edmonton's mounting frustration in Game 4. And, unlike the first three games when the Sharks were 1-for-14 with the man advantage, they made the Oilers pay dearly for their indiscretions Tuesday.

San Jose set a franchise playoff record with four power-play markers. In the span of 60 minutes, the Sharks shot from 14th in power-play percentage to sixth and were tied with Calgary going into Wednesday's play with a league-high five power-play strikes. And it's no coincidence members of the five-man unit - Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Couture, Burns and Pavelski - combined for five goals and 11 points overall.

"It was huge and a good confidence booster for the rest of us," Sharks forward Joel Ward said. "They've been doing that since Day 1 when I got here so it's cool for them to do that again. They just always lead the way."

Opposing coach Todd McLellan knows all too well about the resiliency in the San Jose room, especially considering he spent seven years coaching the Sharks before taking the same post in Edmonton before last season.

"We're learning as we go along," McLellan said. "Our top scorers haven't experienced this level of play before. They really haven't. When you look at Thornton, Marleau, Pavelski, Burns, (Paul) Martin - those are some pretty experienced guys. To live through these type of games. They knew where they had to take their team."

And they know they have to take similar determination and desperation on the road in Edmonton. San Jose will have to win at least once on the road to advance past the young Oilers, either Thursday in Game 5 or Monday in a potential winner-take-all Game 7.

"I think the last time we had a real good performance like that was the second and third periods of Game 1 and we didn't follow it up in Game 2. So that's on us," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "The pressure on us is to follow up with another effort like (Game 4) and I'm sure they'll have some pressure to hold serve at home."

Video: Peter DeBoer speaks after a 7-0 win against Edmonton

The Sharks need only to look back to several points during last year's long spring run to the Cup Final to find examples of finding success on the road in the playoffs.

After winning the first two games of their opening-round series against the Kings on the road, the Sharks scored twice in the first period of Game 5 at Staples Center and snuffed out any comeback hopes by Los Angeles to win 6-3 and eliminate their SoCal nemesis rivals; Down 2-1 after one period of a pivotal Game 5 of the Western Conference finals in St. Louis, the Sharks rallied behind Pavelski's tying and eventual game-winning goals to win 6-3 and set up a historic series'-clinching victory over the Blues two nights later in San Jose; The Sharks spoiled a Pittsburgh fan base poised to win a pro sports title at home for the first time in 56 years by scoring twice in the opening three minutes en route to a 4-2 triumph in Game 5.

"We're used to it over here," Thornton said. "I'd like to think we can go in there and be confident. The guys played well there in Game 1, and hopefully we can just bring that game again."

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