The San Jose Sharks have played eight games in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Over these eight games, they haven’t lost two straight.
They’ll be taking a 3-1 lead in their Western Conference Semifinal series vs. Detroit into tomorrow’s game, which comes after their 4-3 loss at Detroit in Game 4 on Friday night. The Sharks tied the game after Detroit had built a 3-0 lead, but Darren Helm’s goal at 18:33 of the third period was the winner.
The Sharks task is quite clear for tomorrow’s Game 5.
|Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (35) stops shot by San Jose Sharks Joe Thornton (19) during the third period in Game 4 of a second-round NHL Stanley Cup playoffs hockey series, Friday, May 6, 2011 in Detroit. The Red Wings won 4-3, but the Sharks lead the series 3-1. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) |
“They all know,” Joe Thornton
said about his teammates. “There’s no rookies in here. Everyone has led at times this year. Everybody knows what needs to be done. There’s no surprises in here.”
“We missed an opportunity last game,” Dan Boyle
said. “You don’t want to prolong this any longer. They deserved to win the last game. They were better than we were.”
“It’s not going to end on its own,” Ryane Clowe
said. “We have to battle for it and play better. I think you’ll see a better game from us tomorrow.”
What’s San Jose’s task? One part is limiting Detroit’s chances inside the San Jose zone. The Red Wings are a puck possession team which thrives on time with the puck and shooting pucks on the opposition’s net. In Game 1, Detroit was limited to 25 shots on goal. In Game 5, the Red Wings had 40.
“A lot of their chances and their momentum in the O zone leads from pucks on our stick,” Clowe said. “We’ve got complete control and it’s either on their stick, it’s a bobble play, it’s not executed or it’s a missed pass. A lot of times the puck gets in the neutral zone and they go right back again. We just didn’t come clean out of our end.”
“We looked at the video today,” Devin Setoguchi said. “They did a good job going to the net and getting second and third opportunities. It’s more about what we need to do and not worry about what they’re doing. We need to execute better.”
“We weren’t good enough to win the game the other night,” Coach Todd McLellan said. “We probably weren’t good enough in Game 3 as well. I thought the gap got a little wider in Game 4 and we have to close it. Their intensity level went up and we didn’t meet it. They did a lot of good things in our zone by throwing pucks at our net and getting to second opportunities.”
There’s also the importance of a good start. In this year’s playoffs, San Jose has been outscored 13-4 in the first 20 minutes.
|San Jose Sharks' Dan Boyle, third from left, celebrates his goal against the Detroit Red Wings with teammates Patrick Marleau (12), Ryane Clowe (29) and Kyle Wellwood (20) during the second period of Game 4 of a second-round NHL Stanley Cup playoffs hockey series, Friday, May 6, 2011, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) |
“Everyone understands,” Boyle said about the need to start strong. “We’ve been outscored a ton in the first period. It’s not from lack of being prepared. We know what we have to do. We have to find a way to execute better in the first period.”
Another part is being in control. The Sharks will have the advantage of playing before a sold out HP Pavilion on Sunday. Playing before friendly faces can make the home team try a little too hard.
“It’s going to be important to come out with energy,” Boyle said, “but also controlled energy. You can lose control when you’re so excited.”
And finally, there’s the question about momentum. Does Detroit have it because of their late game heroics on Friday? Or does San Jose have the edge because they’re playing at home?
“Momentum starts over and over and over again,” McLellan said. “Every game. We had an emotional win in Game 3 and it didn’t swing Detroit’s momentum at all. It’s up to us to reestablish it and Detroit will be looking to do the same thing.”
FROM THE PUCK BAG
If you have a ticket for tomorrow’s Game 5, you’ll get a rally towel courtesy of Club One, Sims Recycling Solutions and El Camino Hospital. And make sure you use your “Game G” tickets…There’s a new installment of "EQ vs. Shark" (featuring Jason Demers
) available for your viewing pleasure. Take a look right here
...K-FOX Morning Personality Greg Kihn is still belting out the tunes. He wrote a song for the Sharks 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. A music video was released on YouTube this past Wednesday and has already been played on CSN Bay Area’s “Chronicle Live.” You can check it out here
Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals between San Jose and Detroit will be at 5 p.m. at HP Pavilion. Watch the game on Versus and listen to the game on 98.5/102.1 K-FOX and www.sjsharks.com