Ratto: Power play not the issue for Sharks

May 8, 2011, 7:39 pm
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SAN JOSE -- The Sharks met this a.m. to talk about their so-so power play, which has been even more so than usual in the postseason and especially since Detroit tinkered with its penalty kill and especially how they stand at the blue line when the Sharks try to enter the zone.

They made some adjustments on their forecheck and on their stand at the blue line, head coach Todd McLellan said. We obviously have to adjust and make sure that if they do throw that at us, were a little more prepared. But the way (Game 4) was going and the power plays coming so late, I dont think we engaged ourselves enough early to be sharp in those situations.

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Therein lies the real problem for the Sharks, even more than being 2 for 22 on the power play home in this postseason. Its the starts they get.

They dropped another three goals in the first period Friday night, and are now being outscored 13-4 in the 10 games they have played so far. But while they outchanced the Kings in the first round and outshot them overall, 84-42, they have been considerably less involved against Detroit, barely behind on goals (5-4) and shots (50-48) but much further behind in possession time and general efficacy.

We normally do in our own building, McLellan said when asked about first period play. We capture that energy thats given to us by our fans and we can take it and run with it. But theyve got some veteran D-men, theyve got some poise on their blue line. They have the ability to settle things down and bring the puck out. But well do everything in our power to have a good start and then maintain it from there. We cant play a 10-minute game, we have to play the full 60 and see what happens after that.

Statistically, thought, the first period has been their worst throughout the season, both during the dark months (pre-January 14) and the light ones (post-January 14), so this is not a new development at all. It seems the Sharks need more time get their motors revved than theyre getting, so a noon start would presumably have been much worse for them than the 5 p.m. theyre getting.

In other words, viz. San Jose, thank goodness for NBCs afternoon programming.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

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