Sharks' lesson from playoff past: 'We hate to lose'

May 15, 2011, 4:39 pm
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May 15, 2011
Tim Panaccio

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Everyone knows the Sharks were swept in last springs Western Conference finals against eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago.

Team captain Joe Thornton was asked what, if anything, he takes from that series that perhaps carries over against Vancouver that he can use.

We'll see after the series is done, Thornton said. We really can'tsay until it's done. Hopefully we learn that -- we hate to lose. Wewant to extend this. We're having a lot of fun right now. Just ask methe question after the series and hopefully I can say that we've grown.

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Really, when you get to this point, both teams are excellent teams.What have we learned? We haven't even stepped on the ice yet, so I'mnot even sure. Like I said before, we'll find out after.

What's next?: Canucks coach Alain Vigneault is 7-1 in playoff openers as coach of Vancouver. His teams always open well even if they dont finish well. He is 6-0 on home ice. This series will mark the seventh time in nine tries that the Canucks have opened on home ice during his five years as coach.

So whats the encore? Thats what people are wondering here about Ryan Kesler, who has pretty much carried the Canucks through two rounds with a team-high 15 points.

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I think you just got to continue getting better, Kesler said. You forget about the past and you focus on San Jose. We did a good job of that after we probably won the most emotional, important series of the guys that played here in years past, beating Chicago in seven.

I thought we did a good job of moving on and focusing on Nashville. I don't see any way different. We need to move on. Me personally, I need to move on and continue getting better.

Power(less) play: You look at San Joses power play and its well below where it should be at a lowly 13.7 percent with just seven power play goals in 51 chances.

When you look at it from a numbers perspective, the 13 percent, 14 percent, wherever we're at, not very impressive, Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. When you look at the goals we scored? The power-play, you have to be pretty pleased. It's won us some games, allowed us to move on.

I'm a big believer that when you close a series and you move on, you start with fresh numbers. We're at zero or at a hundred. I don't know where you want to start us at. But we're fresh.

We have a huge challenge ahead of us, because they're a very good penalty-killing team, obviously the best in the league. We expect our power-play to have an impact on the series.

On the other side of the discussion, Vigneault was asked whether the Sharks power play resembles a sleeping giant going into the series.

Well, I mean, they've got a lot of skill up front, he replied. They got Dan Boyle on D, who is one of the best power-play defensemen in the league. It's obviously not something I'd like to do, give them a lot of power-plays. We're going to play hard, I know they're going to play hard, we'll see what happens.

Tim Panaccio is the Flyers Insider for Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.

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