McLellan: 'We've got a lot of things to improve on'
The Sharks were 17-2-5 at HP Pavilion during the regular season, and are 4-0 at home in the playoffs. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
LOS ANGELES – Sharks head coach Todd McLellan didn’t have a good explanation for why home teams have been so successful this playoff season.
Home teams won all three playoff games on Thursday night, and have a 44-20 record in the postseason (.688). In the second round, the home team is 14-3, including 5-0 in the Sharks-Kings series.
“I don’t know what it is, if it has to do with the lockout, being comfortable,” McLellan said. “I don’t have an answer for that. But, I do know we’re going back to our building. We have a couple days to regroup and rest. When we’ve played well this down the stretch, we’ve played quick, we’ve played efficient, we’ve made tape-to-tape passes, and that didn’t happen tonight. We weren’t the team we wanted to be.”
Kings head coach Darryl Sutter also gave his take.
“I don’t really think there is anything in particular. Everybody is going to look at it when it is over and done and look at their whole year; evaluate schedules and things, and then they are going to rate how they played at home and how they played away,” he said.
The Kings won their 13th straight game at Staples Center, including the regular season, a franchise record. San Jose is 4-0 at home in the playoffs.
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The Sharks and Kings will have their second two-day break between playoff games. According to Logan Couture, San Jose has some things to work on before it tries to keep its season alive on Sunday.
“I think we’ve got a lot to look at from tonight’s game,” Couture said. "We did a lot of things wrong, so I’m sure it’ll help us to look at some video and get better.”
Couture mentioned after Game 5 that the Sharks’ best players were not their best players, and that’s true. But, no one was particularly good, according to the head coach.
McLellan said: “Our go-to guys weren’t particularly sharp tonight. When that happens, your depth has to come through, as well. They have to provide a little spark and energy, and maybe get you one. Logan is very accurate in those comments, but this was a team loss, it wasn’t just a few guys.”
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That the Sharks and Kings have been so evenly matched through the five games is no surprise to either head coach.
McLellan said: “Sometimes you get into a series where strange things happen. This has kind of followed script – home teams winning, low scoring, five-on-five is at a premium, both teams are keeping shot totals down. It’s stuck to the script so far, it’s our job to change it a little bit.”
“The teams are close enough that the scores so far have been 2-0, 4-3, 2-1, 2-1, and 3-0, so I don’t there is much of a gap between the teams,” Sutter said. “I think there are gaps from game to game in terms of individual performances.”
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Jonathan Quick moved past Kelly Hrudey for all time wins in the playoffs by a Kings goaltender with his 27th victory.
“I remember watching him when I was growing up, he was very competitive and hated to lose, obviously,” Quick said. “Being able to pass him on that list it’s an accomplishment, but wins are team accomplishments, so you got to give credit to the guys you play with.”
Quick recorded his second shutout of the series, including a 2-0 win in Game 1.
“We played more of our game than I think we’ve seen. … We limited their opportunities on their power play, which we obviously know is always dangerous for them.”
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Seven times in their postseason history, the Sharks have lost Game 5 after the series was tied at 2-2. They have gone on to lose six of seven of those series, and in each of those series, they lost Game 6, as well.
On the bright side, the one time they did win Game 6, they beat the Calgary Flames in the first round in seven games in 1995.