Sharks' Game 3 focus: composure, commitment

May 20, 2011, 7:29 pm
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May 20, 2011

Tim Panaccio

SAN JOSE -- Sometimes a one-word answer pretty much says it all.

You can dissect the Sharks' two losses in Vancouver every which way but loose, and still end up with the one word that signifies what has to change Friday night at HP Pavilion.

Win, Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. Were going into this game as if its Game 7. Its a must win.

After taking 13 penalties in the 7-3 Game 2 debacle, perhaps spending more time on the ice 5-on-5 and less in the box would be a good start.

Be crisper, stay out of the penalty box and be hard on pucks, Thornton said. Their power play is as deadly as ours, just stay out of the box as much as we can.

That would imply the Sharks need to just play the game without gamesmanship. Coach Todd McLellan summed that up in one word, as well: composure.

Many of the San Jose penalties in Game 2 were the result of losing composure and enacting revenge. Self-discipline will be pivotal in the games here.

Have a little more composure, but still have that intensity and fire, Patrick Marleau said.

Most of the Sharks cited this game as the most important one so far.

Not that McLellan would argue that point.

When youre in the playoffs, if you have the approach that Game 1 is like Game 7 and Game 2 is Game 7, thats a real good indicator of intensity and focus, he said.

Our job is just to win Game 3. However we approach it from the mental perspective, its to win Game 3.

We know were gonna play Game 4. Wed like to play with a record of 2-1 versus 0-3. We cant look ahead. We need a better game than Games 1-2.

McLellan admitted hes contemplating both lineup and line changes.

Since calling out his players to raise their games, and in some case, get their heads into the series, McLellan was asked how he presents that differently to players if hes already said it to them in the past.

Some of the individuals have shown marked improvement over time, McLellan said. Sometimes just showing them where they were and how far theyve come strikes a chord with them. Remind them of some of their achievements.

Hes not talking goals or assists here, hes talking commitment to teammates when you get to this stage of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Its not always about rubbing their noses in it, McLellan said.

The most likely candidates hes talking about are Dany Heatley, Ryane Clowe, Dan Boyle and Devin Setoguchi, among others, but basically, that core group.

Every one of those players except Clowe is a minus player in the playoffs, with Setoguchi at minus-6.

Everybody responds differently, McLellan said. Some guys need to see it and quite frankly, need to be pushed. Other guys need to be sat down and their progress needs to be reviewed ... how they got there ... all pointing toward a collective effort and then the results.

Heatley was asked about McLellan calling players out anonymously.
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Yeah, I think for our line Clowe and Logan Couture, we havent played as well as wed like to, Heatley said. Or even as well as we have in the playoffs so far.

Were a line that needs to spend a lot of time in their end and grind their defense down. Weve got to do a better job of that tonight.

Most of the Sharks stressed, more than anything, a need for more even-strength play, not to mention puck possession in the Canucks defensive end.

Through two games, too much of the play has been in the Sharks' end where San Joses forwards are expending too much energy trying to get up ice. Hence, the forecheck has been a non-factor for the Sharks.

Just compete for the loose puck, surround the puck and get our big bodies out there and get shots on the net, Marleau said.

Thats where puck placement has been an issue. Some of the Sharks' dump passes are not in areas where their forecheckers can get them, with Vancouver turning the puck right back up ice.

Boyle again mentioned how poorly the Sharks are doing in the neutral zone. There have been sequences of turnovers -- one breakout after another -- by the Sharks against the Canucks pressure.

I still say the neutral zone has to be better, Boyle said. Coming up the ice with speed. We can certainly take an alert from these guys where their defensemen jump in late.

Weve got to find those opportunities, too. Right now, theyre not there. Or, at least, Im not seeing it. We just got to find a way of being a little bit better coming up the ice.

No Demers: Defenseman Jason Demers remains out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury. Given his offensive capabilities on the blue line, his absence has hurt the Sharks.

He thinks the game creatively, McLellan said.

Again, given the Sharks' breakout issues, with many turnovers happening in neutral ice, this is where a creative, offensive-defenseman like Demers comes into play.

Kent Huskins is playing in Demers' spot but hes a stay-at-home blue liner.

When you put Kent in, it changes things, McLellan said. It changes the dynamics. You have to ask others to do more in certain situations.

Canucks changes: Coach Alain Vigneault reportedly is considering two moves tonight -- re-inserting Tanner Glass for Jeff Tambelllini, who replaced him in Game 2; and removing center Cody Hodgson for Alexandre Bolduc.

Sometimes you've got to make some adjustments, Vigneault said. Sometimes players are off their game a little bit or not on top, and you need to make quick adjustments. If we do make some changes tonight, you'll find out at the game.

Been a while: Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo has not won at HP Pavilion since 2006-07.

You're telling me he's due? Vigneault said, as the room broke up with laughter. No, this is a great building. It's loud.

I only remember our last game in here was on a back-to-back, and Schneids Cory Schneider was playing a back-to-back. I don't remember the other occasion. If that's the case, he's due.
Tim Panaccio is the NHL Insider for E-mail him at