May 22, 2011SHARKS PAGE SHARKS VIDEO
BOX SCORETim Panaccio
SAN JOSE -- Throughout the playoffs, the Sharks have talked about playing better hockey when pressed.
They often come off bad defeats with more inspired play. The adrenalin kicks in when faced with elimination, like they were in the previous playoff series against Detroit.
Well, now Todd McLellans Sharks have to win three games in succession or their playoffs are over. Tuesdays Game 5 is really a Game 7.
At least, a Game 7 approach.
Probably not a lot I have to tell them, McLellan said. Their backs are against the wall as close as they can be. We kind of laid it on the line in the third period tonight, that third phase, if you will, that's what we'll be looking to do in Vancouver.
We know we've got a tough task ahead of us. Vancouver knows, we know, Detroit knows, Chicago knows that anything can happen.
Changes will be made.
We've got to clean some parts of our game up, McLellan said. Obviously the powerplay has to be better. When you get those opportunities, you have to take at least advantage of one, maybe two of them. It has to be better, so we'll look at that.
But we've got a little bit of time here over the next day or two to regroup and to get ready to play.
Patrick Marleau, who had an assist in the game, says the Sharks can come back.
We need more and we can do better, he said. We have another chance to go in there to Vancouver and do it.
Unprepared and dull: McLellan said his team wasnt sharp in most any aspect of its game right from the start.
So, was that a mental or physical issue with his club?
I wish I had the answer, McLellan said. You could see it. We got what we wanted. We got some energy. We got the crowd into it. We earned opportunities on the power play. You could see the passes.
We watched a couple of them. The passing was off. The receiving was off. The timing was off. There wasn't much rhythm. I have to believe some of that's mental, some of it's physical, a combination of both.
Old, Finnish flash: Sami Salo missed the first four and a half months of this past NHL season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
On Sunday, the 36-year-old Finnish defenseman, playing on a repaired, aging ankle, had a major impact in the Sharks 4-2 Game 4 Western Conference finals loss that gave the Canucks a 3-1 series choke hold.
Salo scored on two of the three playoff-record consecutive Vancouver 5-on-3 power plays that gave the Canucks a stunning 3-0 lead in the second period, and pretty much iced the game.
In his entire 12 years in the NHL, this was the biggest impact hes ever had in a conference final.
McLellan admitted that Vancouvers subtle change of using Salo on those 5-on-3 units represented a completely different look that the Sharks were unprepared for.
For sure it's been a long journey this year, having a tough offseason, Salo said. But we worked really hard to get to this point. Now, it's really exciting.
First time in my long career that I have a chance to play in the Western Conference Finals. Playing against a great team, it couldn't be any better.
It also helped having Henrik Sedin tee it up for the point during those two-man advantages.
I don't think it matters who is playing the point when he has the puck, Salo said.
Loose pucks: With both Christian Ehrhoff and Aaron Rome injured, Cancuks coach Alain Vigneault went with Keith Ballard and rookie Chrisopher Tanev as a defensive pair. Surprise than Tanev got the nod over veteran Andrew Alberts, but Tanev gave Vancouver a right-handed shot, too. Jamie McGinn, who personally took out Ehrhoff and Rome in this series with hit, came barreling down the side boards on Ballard in the second period. Ballard saw him, ducked and timed a perfect hip check to send McGinn sprawling. He then gave him a glove to the mouth at the net, too. By the end of the second period, 8 of the last 10 goals in the series had been scored on the power play.
Tim Panaccio is the NHL Insider for CSNPhilly.com E-mail him at email@example.com