Sharks need to stay physical in Game 4

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Sharks need to stay physical in Game 4

May 21, 2011SHARKSPAGE SHARKSVIDEO
Tim PanaccioCSNCalifornia.com

Todd McLellan recants his version of a tale about the 1983 New York Islanders, whose reign over the National Hockey League ended with their fourth and final Stanley Cup that spring against the Oilers.
I remember hearing a story about the Oilers walking by the Islanders' locker room, McLellan began. Those guys were bleeding, they were taped up, there were ice bags everywhere, when they should have been celebrating a Stanley Cup championship. If I remember the story correctly, that was the moment the Oilers needed to become their dynasty, was to see that. If you're not hurt right now, if you're not banged, bruised, you're not sore, you're not tired, I guess the question would be: Why?To that end, the Vancouver Canucks are now officially the team this is more banged, bruised, sore, tired and especially,hurt, as this Western Conference Finals series enters Game 4 on Sunday afternoon at the Shark Tank.Two crushing hits in Game 3 from Sharks left wing Jamie McGinn have taken out the Canucks' No. 3 defenseman -- Christian Ehrhoff-- as well as, their No. 6 blue liner -- Aaron Rome.
RATTO: McLellan keeping doom in the air
On Saturday afternoon, McGinn was cleared of any wrong-doing by the NHL on the Rome hit, despite drawing a five-minute major for boarding, plus a game misconduct, his second of the playoffs (charging penalty: Game 6 vs. Los Angeles Brad Richardson).
Given Ben Eager also survived a game misconduct for running Daniel Sedin in Game 2 of this fray, you might conclude the Sharks have dodged two bullets in this series.I'm not going to comment on how the league interprets certain hits, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said.Going to leave that up to them. That's all I want to say there.Keith Ballard will get one call for Vancouver. Between rookie Chris Tanev and veteran Andrew Alberts, Alberts is expected to play, as well.Losing two D-men in a playoff game is catastrophic, especially one such as Ehrhoff, who took a shoulder hit from McGinn late in the second period and never returned.The Ehrhoff hit seemed inconsequential at the time. Hes one of their top defensemen, McGinn said. Any chance you get to get a lick in, you have to take it. He pulled up and I just kind ofcame across the ice and finished my check. It was just shoulder to shoulder.Two confirmed kills for the Sharks winger.Im not trying to hurt anyone, but I think it helps our team a lot, McGinn said. That is what were trying to do. Get in on their defense and wear and tear them down. Thats why its a seven-game series. Every game, every hit, every shift is important.Of course, the hit on Rome was the one the NHL reviewed.I think I have looked at the hit 100 times, McGinn said, prior to hearing the news he was cleared. Icant stress enough, I dont want to hurt anyone. I want a quick recovery for Rome. Its too bad that he got hurt on the play.I was coasting. I tried to slow up and hit him on the left shoulder.You can see the '2' and the '9' on the back of his sweater. So its just one of those freak accidents where he hit his head on the glass. I didn't want that to happen.Make no mistake, this changes things for the Sharks -- not just the Canucks. For one, it gives the Sharks an advantage on the forecheck.Just ask Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray, who understands, from a positional standpoint, what its like to lose two defensemen in a playoff series.With them being a little shorthanded, try to wear them down, Murray said of San Joses strategy as the Sharks are forcing the Canucks to dig deeper into their bench for replacements.Murrays partner, Dan Boyle, says the other advantage here is Vancouver now brings two players cold into pressure-packed Game 4.Thats tough for guys to come in and havingnot played for a long time, Boyle said.Its hard. Be physical, dont let the two new -- if there are two --dont let them get comfortable. Being physical is a big part of a hockey game.San Jose was far more physical, far more effective on its forecheck in Game 3 and now needs to ratchet play up for Game 4 and take advantage of the Canucks situation.You got to try to get on those new guys early and test them, forward Ryane Clowe said. We showed our forecheck Friday andwere a little more physical and a little more aggressive. We made them play in their end more. We got to do that. Both of these defensemen going in are experienced guys. I dont think their panic level will be high.Perhaps not, yet both new players figure to be cautious, even conservative in their defensive play. That also should work in the Sharks favor.
VIDEO: Joe Thornton postgame
We still want to get on it forecheck and bump them, Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. Nothing changes for us.Tim Panaccio covers thePhiladelphia Flyers for CSNPhilly.com.Emailhim and let him know what you think! Follow Tim @tpanotch.

Instant Replay: Raiders offense hits wall in loss to Chiefs

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USATSI

Instant Replay: Raiders offense hits wall in loss to Chiefs

BOX SCORE

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Raiders had a lot working against them Thursday night. They had to travel two time zones on a short week to play the biggest game of the season in bitter cold.

The uphill climb proved too daunting for the Silver and Black, who snapped a six game win streak with a 21-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

This result puts the Chiefs atop the AFC West. Both teams are 10-3, but Kansas City owns an all-important tiebreaker with a season sweep over Oakland with three games to play.

The Raiders now need help to win the division. If that doesn’t happen, they’ll likely end up in the Wild Card pool, where they would likely spend the playoffs on the road should they qualify for the postseason.

The Raiders were down eight points for most of the second half, with the Oakland defense holding the Chiefs down and the Raiders offense scuffling along in the cold. The passing game was disjointed at times, a complete mess at others with everyone save the line sharing in blame.

The offense had an important shot to score, with a drive that started at the Raiders' 26-yard line with 8 minutes, 26 seconds remaining.

The team with six fourth-quarter comebacks couldn’t secure a second. The Raiders marched down to the Kansas City 19-yard line but couldn’t punch it in. Derek Carr and Seth Roberts couldn’t hook up on 4th-and-6 and the Raiders turned it over on downs.

The Raiders offense struggled through this game. Quarterback Derek Carr was off most of the night, without the pinpoint accuracy characteristic of his throws.

Receivers weren’t helping him out either, with several drops in key moments. That was especially true of Roberts and Michael Crabtree, who couldn’t corral golden opportunities.

The biggest belonged to Amari Cooper, who was wide open deep and couldn’t track down a floating pass that likely would’ve been a touchdown had he caught it.

That unit was just 5-for-18 on third down, a clip that doesn’t help win games.

The Raiders scored just six points off just three turnovers, which is the main reason why they lost this pivotal contest.

The defense tightened up in the second half especially, with a pair of third-quarter takeaways followed by solid third-down defense that gave the offense plenty of opportunities.

Latavius Murray was running strong, and finished with 103 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Carr really struggled, with his worst game of the year. That was evident in his stat line: 17-of-41 passing for 117 yards, no touchdowns and a 49.1 passer rating.

The first half did not go the Raiders’ way. They were down 21-10 after two quarters, a stretch only salvaged with a last-second touchdown from Latavius Murray before the half.

Before that, it was all Chiefs. The Raiders opened scoring with a field goal following a muffed punt recovered by James Cowser.

Then Kansas City rattled off 21 unanswered points, including a 36-yard touchdown catch by Tyreek Hill and 78-yard punt return by the same guy and a 3-yard TD run by Charcandrick West.

Things got better in the second half thanks to defensive takeaways. TJ Carrie intercepted a pass deep in Chiefs territory, and the Raiders left with a field goal. Khalil Mack had a strip sack on the next series that Denico Autry recovered, but the Raiders squandered a shot at points when Marquette King couldn’t corral a slightly errant snap in time for Sebastian Janikowski to put a boot on it.

Kelce mocks Marquette:Tyreek Hill returned a Marquette King put 78 yards for a touchdown, something the Chiefs surely enjoyed. Afterward, tight end Travis Kelce found King and did a bronco riding dance – King dances after good punts, and did that one versus Denver – King ended up chasing down Hill and taunting him. That action drew a flag.

Sitting it out: Left guard Kelechi Osemele was a late scratch due to illness. He was replaced by Jon Feliciano and Vadal Alexander on the inside. The Raiders were also missing two other starters in safety Karl Joseph and defensive tackle Stacy McGee. Defensive tackle Darius Latham missed a second straight game with ankle injury, the Raiders thin on the defensive interior.

What’s next: The Raiders will have a mini bye over the weekend, giving them an extended stretch before playing their second road game in as many weeks. The travel to San Diego for another AFC West showdown against the last-place Chargers.

Warriors pushed late by Jazz, still come out on top in Utah

Warriors pushed late by Jazz, still come out on top in Utah

BOX SCORE

SALT LAKE CITY — Stephen Curry scored 26 and the Golden State Warriors controlled the Utah Jazz from start to finish in a 106-99 victory Thursday night.

Curry scored 14 points during a 29-1 run that made it 29-5. The Jazz's only lead of the game was 4-2.

Kevin Durant added 21 points and 11 rebounds for Golden State.

Jazz center Rudy Gobert had 20 points and 17 rebounds, Joe Ingles scored a career-high 21 points, and Shelvin Mack added a season-high 19.

The Jazz have four starters sidelined by injuries, including their top three scorers.

Golden State led 65-46 at halftime as the second unit allowed the Jazz to hang around and, technically, remain within striking distance. The urgency from the first quarter disappeared in the second half and the Jazz crept within five in the fourth quarter thanks to buckets from Mack and Ingles, but Durant closed the game with 11 in the final period.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Rookie Patrick McCaw scored a career-high 10 points, all in the first half. ... Shaun Livingston took the night off to rest. ... Draymond Green was two assists shy of his 15th career triple-double.

Jazz: Utah started the combination of Joe Johnson, Mack, Dante Exum, Gobert and Boris Diaw for the first time this season. ... Ingles hit a career-high five 3-pointers.

INJURED JAZZ

The Jazz were without four starters — Gordon Hayward (finger), Rodney Hood (hamstring), George Hill (toe) and Derrick Favors (knee). Utah has been dealing with injuries all season, but Thursday was their most depleted lineup to date.

"It's easy to be frustrated," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "That's something you have to just fight against and make a decision to do the best with where we are.

"It's a credit to our guys really. We've got a group that has character. Over a longer period of time it becomes more challenging. ... Hopefully there's a silver lining. We've got some guys that are getting minutes that may not be getting otherwise."

QUOTABLE

"This team, my first year was kind of a surprise and everybody seemed to love us," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "Now maybe it's changed a little bit. It honestly makes no difference to us.

UP NEXT

Warriors: Golden State travels to face the Memphis Grizzlies in the third game of a five-game trip.

Jazz: Utah hosts a Sacramento Kings team that has lost eight of 12 on the road.