The bad news is the Sharks are down 0-2 in the 2011 Western Conference Final with Vancouver. The good news is the Sharks haven’t played great hockey yet, so there’s room for improvement.
Had the Sharks played their best and been down a couple of games that might be a bigger concern. If they can find its “A” game, different results could be showing up in San Jose starting tonight.
|San Jose Sharks' Niclas Wallin, left, of Sweden, puts Vancouver Canucks' Henrik Sedin, of Sweden, during the second period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference final playoff series, Sunday, May 15, 2011, in Vancouver, Canada. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward) |
“Take one game here and go out and play,” Niclas Wallin said. “Give credit to Vancouver, but I don’t think we’ve shown up yet. Offensively, we can do a much better job in their end. Even if we’re not scoring, get to their D. It seems like we’re forechecking and they’re getting a clean forecheck.”
“I’ve been talking about that this morning,” Dan Boyle
said. “We haven’t been (our best). We need more guys to step up and join the party and bring their ‘A’ game.”
“We’ll give ourselves a chance to win if we do bring our best and that’s what we need to do at this time of year,” Patrick Marleau
The Sharks feel their better effort will not only provide more offense, but limit Vancouver’s production as well.
“We know they’re a very good team over there, especially when you give them odd-man rushes and power plays,” Dany Heatley said. “We don’t feel we’ve played our game in either of the games and we have to do that tonight to win.”
Part of playing better is playing longer as Vancouver has not only played strong games, but been more consistent with them.
“Play hard and play fast for 60 minutes,” Marc-Edouard Vlasic
said. “There’s no secret to it. They’ve played hard for 120 minutes and that’s why they’ve won both games. (We need to be) playing hard, playing smart and being fast.”
Confidence isn’t lacking in the room as the Sharks know their talent and they’ve seen it for the past nine months.
“We’ve been a confident team all season,” Logan Couture
said. “We know we haven’t played our best hockey and tonight we definitely need to win.
The Sharks confidence is what’s helping them put the two games in Vancouver behind them, a playoff mentality regardless of the result.
“I think we’ve done a pretty good job all playoffs long of forgetting what happened the previous game, whether it was a won or a loss,” Heatley said. “Just get back to how we can play.”
The Sharks plan to bring an intensity that will rival an elimination game.
“We’re going into this game feeling like it’s Game 7, a must win,” Joe Thornton
said. “We’ll be ready to go tonight.”
The Sharks had a better breakout in Game 2, but they want to be harder on pucks in the offensive zone and create more difficult decisions for Vancouver.
“We haven’t spent enough time in their end grinding their D down,” Heatley said. “We’re making it too easy on them. The biggest thing is getting support to the puck. Their D want to wheel it out and get it to their forwards really quick. We’ve got to get two to three guys in there, win some battles and create some time there.”
“Competing for loose pucks, surrounding the puck, getting our big bodies out,” Marleau said. “Getting shots and going to the net. We can stay out of the penalty box and play between the whistles. Try to get them to take some penalties on us by getting our forecheck going and having the puck in their end.”
Not to mention staying out of the penalty box as well.
“We just have to be crisper and hard on pucks,” Thornton said. “Their power play is as steady as ours, so (we must) stay out of the box as much as we can.”FAMILIAR SURROUNDINGS
Home cooking has been good to the Sharks over the years and they plan to take advantage of the HP Pavilion noise.
|San Jose Sharks' Patrick Marleau (12) celebrates his second period goal against the Vancouver Canucks with teammates Joe Thornton, left to right, Devin Setoguchi and Dan Boyle in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference final playoff series, Sunday, May 15, 2011, in Vancouver, Canada. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward) |
“It’s a good place to be. it’s going to be really loud and there will be a lot of adrenaline going early,” Marleau said. “We have to keep ourselves in check and not be running out of position.”
“We fed off their energy all season long. It’s a very loud building to play in and it’s going to be fun tonight,” Heatley said.
“We’re excited, they took care of their home ice advantage and we have to here,” Vlasic said. “It’s good to be back in front of our fans. It’s a loud building and I’m excited.”MCLELLAN TALKS
You can find a complete transcript of Coach Todd McLellan’s morning skate presser here
.HEY YOU IN REDDING…
The Sharks postseason success has created a slight conflict with the San Francisco Giants games carried on Sharks Radio Network affiliate XS Sports 96.1 FM (KKXS) in Redding. Games 3 and 4 can be heard on its sister station, RED 103.1/93.3 FM (KHRD-FM). For a complete broadcasting schedule, click here
Game 3 of the 2011 Western Conference Final between Vancouver and San Jose will be at 6 p.m. Watch on Versus and listen on 98.5/102.1 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com