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The Importance of Game 2

by Tony Khing / San Jose Sharks
Game 2 is always important in any playoff series. It’s important for momentum and home ice advantage.

The San Jose Sharks will keep that in mind as they enter Game 2 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series against Los Angeles tonight. The Sharks have a 1-0 lead following their 3-2 overtime win on Thursday night.

“It’s an important game for us and to take a 2-0 lead would be real beneficial for us.,” Joe Thornton said. “We feel like we have a good advantage with our fans and we played really good here after Christmas. We want to win every home game we can.”

The Sharks won 25 times at HP Pavilion in 2010-11, tying them for third in the National Hockey League. In fact, seven of their nine wins during March came in Silicon Valley.

“Whether home or road, they’re important games,” Joe Pavelski said. “You just try to win every game. You play for home ice advantage. It’s still early in the series and we’re trying to establish momentum every night.”

The Sharks would like to duplicate their Game 1 start tonight. San Jose outshot the Kings, 14-3, in the first 20 minutes and got the game’s first goal within the first minute.

“You couldn’t have scripted a better first shift and first period,” Thornton said. “We just need to come out with the same passion and same energy.”

“We liked our start the other night,” Head Coach Todd McLellan said. “It got away from us in the second period. Give them credit. They played hard and pushed us back a little bit. We’re looking for some consistency in our game. We can be better in the faceoff circle. We’ve got to get a more consistent effort.”

“We just need to be better for longer,” Pavelski said.

Defenseman Ian White will be out of the lineup for tonight’s game. White left Game 1 after being hit by Jarret Stoll late in the first period.

White was limited to slightly more than six minutes of playing time, but he did record an assist on Dany Heatley’s goal in the opening minute.

“I feel pretty good,” White said. “I think it’s smart to take a few days to make sure you’re feeling 100 percent before you go back into this pace of hockey. My spirits are positive and I think I’ll be back soon. It’s not a real awful feeling. Something is just a little off and you just have to give it a little time to heal. It’s not something that you can put a little stim on it and some ice and it will heal a little faster.

“It’s definitely disappointing,” White added. “I’ve been waiting so long to get out there and felt good on the ice. It’s fortunate that it’s not going to knock me out for the rest of the postseason. Hopefully, I’ll miss just this one game.”

White also isn’t upset with Stoll. The two have communicated by phone since Thursday.

“Ninety nine percent of the guys in the League don’t try to intentionally hurt anyone. He’s one of those guys,” White said. “He’s not a dirty player. It’s just the wrong place at the wrong time for both of us. I know he feels bad about it. I don’t hold anything against him.”

As for White’s replacement, McLellan said it will be a game-time decision.

Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals is at 7 p.m. The game can be seen on CSN California and heard on 98.5/102.1 KFOX and

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