Sharks need to stay physical in Game 4

May 21, 2011, 11:47 pm
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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.

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