The San Jose Sharks did what they had to do Wednesday night in Dallas as their 2-1 victory allowed them to survive to fight another day against the Stars, who now lead the best of seven series 3-1.
“We’re still alive and part of this series,” said Joe Thornton
Just like Wednesday, the Sharks will focus on the next game at hand in hopes of extending the battle.
“Take it one game at a time,” said Sharks Captain Patrick Marleau
. “We’ll play another day and will be confident in ourselves.”
San Jose used their special teams play to earn the victory, scoring their second power play goal of the series and registering a shorthanded goal for the second consecutive contest.
“Our power play got it going,” said Marleau.
For the man-advantage goal, which was the game-winner, Joe Thornton
used his classic form to feed Milan Michalek in the crease for the Czech winger’s third goal of the series. Michalek is enjoying his current run of goal-scoring success.
“It’s a lot of fun and we won,” said Michalek. “I feel pretty good now and I have to keep playing that same way and hope it stays like that.
The power play goal proved to be the winner, but the tying tally came courtesy of Marleau as he again scored on a shorthanded breakaway. To begin the play, he intercepted a Sergei Zubov pass, poked the puck ahead (almost too much) and skated in to snipe it home.
“I pushed the puck too far ahead and had a different angle (than last night),” said Marleau.
The danger of Marleau picking another goal will have an effect on the Stars power play attack.
“He’s been big for us on the penalty kill,” said Joe Pavelski
. “When the puck gets chipped out, he’s got the extra step.”
“It gave the bench a whole lift with that goal,” said Joe Thornton
Wilson feels Marleau’s speed and offensive instincts help him defend the other club’s top playmakers when down a man.
“He almost plays more relaxed on the penalty kill than other times,” said Wilson. “He can get in the way because he thinks like an attacker.”
The complete effort from start to finish was as important as anything else on the night.
“We’ve been good, but not great,” said Wilson. “It was a pretty solid effort all around.”
Evgeni Nabokov continued to keep the Sharks in games, limiting the Stars to a single tally and stopping several shots with nobody between himself and the shooter.
“Nabby’s been doing that all the time for us,” said Marleau. “That gets everyone excited on the bench.”
NOTHING TO LOSE
The Sharks hope to bring their nothing to lose attitude into Game 5 Friday night in San Jose.
“We were loose, relaxed and a little more poised,” said Marleau.
“We had dropped three and said let’s go play loose with the pressure off,” said Pavelski.
“Obviously we’re confident and they will be nervous now,” said Michalek.
San Jose knows there is more work to be done to complete a comeback from three games down, but the odds are much better coming back from a 3-1 deficit.
“It’s still an uphill battle,” said Marleau.
The Sharks hope to give a little more to the HP Pavilion fans in Game 5.
“It will be nice to get back to the home fans and take advantage of that,” said Marleau.
“Let’s go home to our building,” said Pavelski about Game 5.
Even though the Sharks dropped the first two of the series at home, they are excited about getting back to San Jose.
“It’s still home,” said Pavelski. “We have great fans.”
Unlike the first three games, the Sharks did not score the contest’s opening tally. Dallas found the first goal when a Devin Setoguchi turnover in the offensive end left Nabokov defenseless.
“You hope your team has that resiliency,” said Wilson. “I think our band rallied around Seto at that point, dug in and got the job done.”
Each of the four contests thus far has been tied at one point in the third period.
Game 5 will be at 7 p.m. and will be on Versus, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.
"We do feel like we can win on their home ice, but we still have to be ready for a big challenge. We have to stay more disciplined next game. Special teams have been the story of the playoffs and always are, no matter what year it is. We have to respond to the momentum that they have now, have a good meeting tomorrow and forget about this one."
"We knew they were going to come hard and they got a couple late goals. We have to play better and get our game to the next level in Game 5. I got a lucky break in the slot and it was nice to take the early lead. It's hard to play 3 games in 4 nights, but we're both in the same boat. Both teams played tight defensive hockey and they just got one more goal than we did."
"It's a game of inches and they ended up capitalizing on their chances. We won two of the games in overtime and it's just a fine line. We'll go out and play a simple road game in San Jose, stay out of the box and play smart. We have to get pucks in deep and try to limit what they're doing. It’s not a do or die game for us, but we have to play like it is. I still like where we are and we're still in a good spot. Marty has been great and he held down the fort for us for a lot of the game."
"We smelled the blood and it was tough on both teams with the back to back. We certainly didn't plan on sweeping them coming into the series. It was another tight game in the 3rd and this is playoff hockey. It doesn't matter who scores the goals, it’s about playing as a team and sticking to our game plan. We are going to continue to stick to our game and look for heroes. We like the way we are playing, limiting their opportunities and we were still knocking on the door in the 3rd."
"Our discipline was one of our keys to success and we lost it tonight. We put together some good shifts but it’s tough to gain momentum when you are killing penalties that often. They did a good job creating turnovers and the shorthanded goals are tough. That's something we need to clean up. We knew they weren't going to quit on us and we need to go in and focus on the next game. Marty continues to make some huge saves and gives us a chance every night. Unfortunately we didn't make enough plays after he made those big saves."
HEAD COACH DAVE TIPPETT
"We had five stick penalties and one over the boards. The after-effects of that are huge because you are taxing a lot of players who kill penalties. You have to control your stick. Without Barnes, you lose a lot too. We need to do better there."
"These are very tight games. A save here, a save there, it decided the outcome. Now we have to go back on the road and try to win there."
On the shorthanded goal:
"Those are uncharacteristic mistakes by Zubie. Those are mistakes that you'd like to see cleaned up. He's not trying to make them, but they happened. That's a way to give them momentum in a hurry.”
"We still have a 3-1 lead but we recognize that they're going home and they're going to get some life out of this. We have to regroup and go into game five and win another road game. It's a challenge for us."
"When you have an opportunity to close a team out and you don't - they won a game and have life and feel good about that. This series has been pretty close. We found a way to win three times and they did tonight. Our focus is on the next game."