Sharks look to stay composed, out of the box
Posted on: May 20, 2011 3:01 pm
Edited on: May 20, 2011 3:22 pm
SAN JOSE --- San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan’s verbal jabs at some players after his fell to an 0-2 deficit in the Western Conference finals weren’t a harsh as the statistics.
The Sharks have lost eight consecutive games in the Western Conference finals, a stretch that includes the final two games of the 2004 west finals and a sweep at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks last year. San Jose is 0-5 in this round of the playoffs at HP Pavilion, site of tonight’s Game 3, and has yet to beat the Vancouver Canucks in regulation or overtime in six meetings overall this season.
“It's not always about rubbing their noses in it,” McLellan said on Thursday. “Everybody responds differently. Some guys need to see it and they quite frankly need to be pushed. Other guys need to be sat down and their progress needs to be reviewed.”
This time it isn’t the team’s Stars like Patrick Marleau or Joe Thornton that are having a down series, although more could be expected out of Dany Heatley. It’s others on the Sharks’ top two lines --- like Ryane Clowe, Joe Pavelski, Devin Setoguchi --- who have been lacking as San Jose dropped the first two games of the best-of-7 series in Vancouver.
“You know, it's frustrating,” said Clowe, who has yet to get a goal or an assist in the series. “I don't think it's a lack of people not caring. Still, at this time of year, it's funny how you can say that we need more guys, we got some passengers. You're in the Western Conference final, and you got a taste of it last year. You know how hard it is. You figure you push harder.”
And “push” within the reason. The Sharks became unhinged in Game 2 after Sharks forward Patrick Marleau, a skill player not know for fighting, dropped the gloves with Vancouver’s Kevin Bieksa in the second period. Sharks forward Ben Eager took a run at Vancouver star Daniel Sedin late in the second period and the Sharks would go on to net nine penalties for 42 minutes. The Canucks scored twice in the man-advantage over the final 20 minutes as they put the game away.
“I don't know what they were thinking,” Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis said. “We took advantage of the power plays. We were happy with our focus.”
Some of the penalties this series were fairly easy calls for the referees to make, like Eager’s boarding of Sedin and his trip of Mason Raymond in the third period. Then there are some borderline calls, including a too many men on the ice penalty that allowed Sedin to make it a three-goal game. Sharks captain Joe Thornton also appeared to take a high stick early in the game that went uncalled.
The Sharks have been called for 18 penalties for total of 63 minutes over the first two games; the Canucks have been whistled for nine penalties for 45 minutes.
“Whether they're looking (closer at the Sharks) or not, we have to stay out of the box,” Pavelski said. “It's hurt us. We're not drawing enough penalties the way it is. We're better off playing a five-on-five game. If we do, our power play has been somewhat dangerous so far. We've been able to get on the board, get a little bit of momentum going.”
-- A.J. Perez
Photo: Getty Images