“We’ll see when the game starts,” Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan said about possible lineup changes. “Don’t read too much into it in the morning skate. We’ll move our lines up a little bit now and that may continue.”
McLellan placed the speedy Torrey Mitchell
up with Jumbo Joe and Patty in Denver during the third period.
“It is kind of the idea,” said Mitchell about the speed of the line, with him alongside the equally speedy Marleau. “Hopefully, I get the pucks into those guys’ hands.”
Heatley admits he doesn’t mind where he plays since the lines have been scrambled before.
“All year we’ve been mixed up with different guys,” said Heatley.
Mitchell said playing alongside Thornton has been “amazing.”
“It is amazing how much space he can create for you,” said the young winger. “It really is; it’s so hard to explain.”
“They (the opponents) go to him, then they are afraid to go to him, then two guys go to him and then the puck is on your stick. He’s a world class passer. That’s how he creates space for guys like me. Joe can literally walk in and shoot it himself if he wants to. It’s amazing the space he creates,” the Quebec native said.
In all situations, Thornton can be dangerous, Mitchell said, especially when the centerman can get to his spots.
“On the power play, along the boards or behind the net, Joe is so dangerous, even 5-on-5,” Mitchell said. “You notice when he has the puck behind the net, guys are really afraid to go after him. When I’m behind the net, guys keep jumping on me.”
With both Marleau and Mitchell on his wings, the first line will be the fastest it’s been all year.
“I’m going to use my speed and get in there on the forecheck and get our guys the puck,” said Mitchell of things possibly staying like the morning skate.
Following Game 4, McLellan noted Heatley was skating away from Thornton and Marleau as the sniper was still “getting his legs under him” after missing Game 3.
“Heater is good enough to play and contribute,” said McLellan of Heatley playing in Game 5. “There is no doubt about it. He’ll be in the lineup and we expect a good game out of him.”
Heatley echoes the notion.
“I feel really good this morning. (I feel) 100 percent,” Heatley said with a laugh after being asked to put a number to his health.
After no goals in three playoff games, Heatley said he doesn’t put extra pressure on himself to score.
“It’s human nature (to do so), but it’s better not to go there,” Heatley said. “Just keep doing what you do. I’ve been around long enough to know that.”
McLellan also noted it would not be known until game time if other players like Niclas Wallin and Jed Ortmeyer will find their way back to the lineup.
MOMENTUM TO BE FOUND
When it comes to momentum and being in control of a hockey game, there is no carry over from the previous contest.
“I’ve said it the last few games, but I think you start fresh every night,” said McLellan. “We like to go with the theory that if you’ve got momentum, keep it, but you have to reestablish your game, individually and collectively. Momentum’s created when the game starts, not necessarily two days ago.”
HOW DOESN’T MATTER
With the series down to the final few contests, style becomes less and less important as the results will determine who will move on between San Jose and Colorado.
“Whether it is pretty or ugly, it has to be a win,” said McLellan.
The Sharks will face Colorado Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and the game will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.