The San Jose Sharks faced a desperate Colorado team in Denver looking to avoid elimination and that proved to be a difficult game. The Red Wings, while not facing elimination, may be even more desperate considering the potential of Game 3 and they have considerably more talent. If the Red Wings fall and go down 3-0, they will be forced to try and come back from a deficit that has only occurred twice in NHL history.
“We expect the best game of the series and possibly the playoffs,” said Dan Boyle
. “They are too good of a team. This is going to be their best game, their best start. Their mindset is they want to win both games here and they are going to give us their best effort. We don’t expect anything less.”
“If there is one team that is capable of coming back from this type of deficit,” the Sharks defenseman pointed out, “It’s them. We don’t underestimate them at all.”
The momentum created from a loud crowd at Joe Louis Arena will be siding with Detroit.
“The start will be important,” said Boyle. “Matchups are different on the road. We had it to our advantage at home and got to play the guys we wanted to against their guys. It’s going to be the other way around now. We mentioned the last couple of days, guys are going to be put in different positions playing different guys. We’re going to need to elevate our game as well.”
The Sharks will use their internal drives to match what Detroit will bring to the table.
“Just match their intensity,” said Joe Pavelski
. “The biggest thing is, you know they have been saying it is a do or die game for them. We have to accept that and do what it’s going to take for us to win.”
“We just need to make sure we come out and we’re ready for it,” said Devin Setoguchi.
Both San Jose and Detroit flew across three time zones to get ready for this game, but they are in a similar situation.
“We got in at dinner time and had a nice team dinner. It’s the same for both teams,” said Boyle. “You have to be ready when the puck drops. There is no excuse there.”
LIMITING POINT SHOTS
The Red Wings are so good at parking a player in front of the crease that San Jose has to be extra attentive to preventing shots from the point. That way, the skater in front of the crease has no chance at a deflection or to be a screen.
“As much as (Holmstrom) is effective, their D-men have to get the puck there first,” said McLellan. “They are very good at it. Nicklas Lidstrom can change the shooting angles as good as anyone in the league. He is very accurate. Kronwell, Stuart, Rafalski, they all get the pucks there. We can help ourselves by not letting as many get through. It’s a fact of life in this series. We’re aware of it, but we’re not going to overextend ourselves in that area.”
The morning skate made it appear that the Sharks would use the same lineup as Game 2, with Patrick Marleau
, Joe Thornton
and Dany Heatley skating together.
ADDRESSING A HOT SCORERJoe Pavelski
seems to have the attention of everyone in the hockey world.
“My wife actually mentioned it to me yesterday,” said Babcock. ”I was driving the kids around and when we got back my wife said to me, ‘Where’s that Pavelski from?’ and I said, ‘Why?’ ‘Well, he’s a stud.’ And I said, ‘Well, he played at Wisconsin – thanks for the tip.’”
The Sharks leading scorer in the postseason simply hopes to keep riding the wave.
“Things are going well and the whole line is coming to play,” said Pavelski. “I think so (about the best he’s ever played). It’s a big time of the year and the intensity that comes with it is the highest. It is fun to work hard and get rewarded.”
The Red Wings will be making a concentrated effort to try and not have ten trips to the penalty box again, but the Sharks will be required to be smart about penalties themselves if they want to go up 3-0.
“We expect them to tighten up their own game,” said Setoguchi. “We’ve got to make sure we doing things to stay out of the box too. They’ve got a lot of skill on that team. If you are in the box, they are going to make you pay. Just keep going with it.”
The Sharks have one overriding theory in being one of the least penalized clubs in the playoffs.
“We have an expression, check with your legs,” said Setoguchi. “If you can keep your stick away and use your legs, you won’t be in a position to take a penalty. We’ve done a good job the first two games of using our legs to get body position.”
“We talk before every game, making sure we check using our legs,” said McLellan. “We are prepared to check properly and to stay out of the penalty box as best we can.”
Joe Louis Arena was built before the modern rush of arenas and definitely brings an old-school feel to the games.
“There are always tough games here,” said Kent Huskins. “It’s a great barn with a great atmosphere. I think the character of this building is unmistakable. It is a genuine original and a fun place to play. You have to bring your best game or you won’t be in the game very long.”
When Logan Couture
skates with Manny Malhotra, Malhotra takes all the faceoffs, but Couture is the center of the group. Couture started with Thornton and Heatley the last game and lined up as a winger.
“It was fun,” said Couture. “In our system, you really don’t do different things as a winger or a centerman. The first man back in the zone takes the centerman’s job. It’s not that big of a difference. Playing with those two was really fun. I enjoyed it.”
With the Sharks sitting just across the river from Canada, Detroit is a place where many of the eastern Canadian players’ families can more easily get to and cheer on their sons for the playoffs.
Game 3 will take place at 4:30 p.m. and will be aired on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com