Ratto: Three keys as Sharks look to Tuesday

Ratto: Three keys as Sharks look to Tuesday
May 23, 2011, 7:36 pm
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May 23, 2011RATTOARCHIVESHARKS PAGE SHARKS VIDEOGAME 4 BOXSCORE SERIES SCHEDULE
Ray Ratto
CSNBayArea.com

With the Stanley Cup Western Conference Final hanging by the tape of the stick blade, here are some things you havent thought of -- mostly because nobody in their right mind would.
1. WHAT WAS WORSE, THE POWER PLAY OR THE PENALTY KILL?
In a close call, the power plays. The Sharks 0-for-5 was a measure of their inability to make adjustments to Vancouvers strategy of stacking all four penalty killers at the blue line and defying the Sharks to enter the offensive zone with speed, and then having entered it, to maintain puck control. They never did figure that one out. The penalty kills were what happened later, and not because the power plays fizzled so badly, unless you want to count panic as a symptom.

2. WHITHER THORNTON?
He will play, rest assured, even if it takes a bicycle pump full of wombat pituitary extract to deal with the right shoulder problem he was given by Raffi Torres. The real question is how effective he will be. Ryane Clowe has a shoulder issue as well, and has done remarkably little in this series, but without Thornton at close to his top, the Sharks are probably doomed.

3. AND YOUR LINEUP IS . . . ?
Probably unchanged. The fourth line of Andrew Desjardins between Jamie McGinn and Jamal Mayers finally became a group that can play without going to the box, but the top nine forwards are pretty much the top nine forwards, unless Todd McLellan wants to try to do something exotic with either Devin Setoguchi or Dany Heatley in civilian clothes, which would not be McLellans style. Then again, style is not exactly something to defend at this point, so well say probably none with only fair and mild conviction.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.