Boyle: Time to 'finish these guys off' in Game 6

Boyle: Time to 'finish these guys off' in Game 6

April 25, 2011

SHARKS (3-2) vs.
LOS ANGELES (2-3)
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Coverage starts at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California.

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Home ice hasn't meant much in the all-California series between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings.

Each team has won twice as the visitor, and now the Sharks, who won the opener at home in overtime, are back at Staples Center with a second chance to close out the series Monday night.

"We had the one opportunity that we missed," Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said Sunday. "We can't really think about Game 7. We've got to finish these guys off and just play our game."

The Sharks will start Antti Niemi in goal in Game 6, despite him getting pulled Saturday night for the second time in the series. He allowed three goals on the Kings' first four shots of their 3-1 victory in San Jose.

"He's ready to go back in and we have a ton of confidence in him," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "Any time he's had a bad game he's come back. The thing with him is he hasn't had two within a five-game span in a long time. He'll need to polish it up, just like the rest of us do."
RELATED: McLellan going with Niemi in Game 6

McLellan blamed defensive breakdowns for the Kings' first two goals, although he didn't defend their third goal by Dustin Penner, who had been scoreless since March 13, two weeks after he was acquired from Edmonton.

"I've got to stay on top of the crease when they get the puck. That's pretty much all I can take from the game," Niemi said. "Just be a little bit more challenging when they've got a chance to shoot. It takes just careful preparation and getting ready and not thinking about it too much."

Los Angeles is sticking with Jonathan Quick, who made a franchise playoff-record 51 saves to extend his team's season for at least one more game.

"It's not a number I'm concerned about," Kings coach Terry Murray said of the shots. "It's the Grade A, quality chances that are the ones I really focus in on and that number was not too bad."

The Kings staved off San Jose comeback behind Quick's steadiness and their defense, which has been a strength all season and which forced the Sharks to shoot mostly from the perimeter.

"Mentally, it's a little bit easier to stay sharp because you're constantly getting action. On the other hand, it's a little more demanding physically," Quick said. "Yesterday was more of a physical challenge than mental."

Quick bounced back after getting shelled for 12 goals in the Kings' two losses at home.

RATTO: Sharks, Niemi uncomfortable once again

The Sharks will be looking to get off to a fast start, something that has eluded them so far while getting outscored 8-1 in the first period of the series.

"I can tell you it's not a lack of preparation or want or effort. I'm seeing all those things," Boyle said. "It seems across the board teams are scoring in bunches, not just our series but other series, too. So if they do score, it's very important for the next shift and the shift following that, you just got to pick it up a little bit, be a little better."

The same could be said about Penner, whose physical presence and skills kept him in the lineup despite his lack of impact in the series. He played on the Kings' fourth line with Kevin Westgarth and Jarret Stoll.

"I'm giving him an opportunity here to back away from having to shut down a (Joe) Thornton line and the checking part of the game," Murray said. "He's capable, but the game is just not there right now. With a different look, it's an opportunity to kind of get your game together and have some success and certainly not the same threat coming at him as a Thornton line."

Having faced each other 11 times so far, including a split of six regular season games, there are few ways either team can surprise the other.

"Now it does come down to execution, it comes down to attitude," Murray said. "You really have to get into your own head as a player of making sure you're paying the price to compete. That's where we need to be even better."

A victory by the Kings would force a seventh game Wednesday night in San Jose.

"We're a really good road team. Right now that means nothing because we have to win at home," Quick said. "All we're focused on is playing at home in front of our crowd and giving them something to cheer about. We want to give them something to go home happy about."

Giants spring training Day 39: Nuñez receives pair of cortisone shots

Giants spring training Day 39: Nuñez receives pair of cortisone shots

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford will return to camp Thursday, show off their WBC championship medals, and then head to nearby Salt River Fields to take on the Colorado Rockies. It'll be a few more days, however, before the Giants have their full infield on the field. 

Eduardo Nuñez said he actually got two cortisone shots in his right shoulder, since an MRI this week showed “something” in two separate spots. Nuñez asked for the MRI because, while he was able to play and make strong throws, he felt pain on a daily basis. He might DH this weekend, but it'll be a few more days before he's cleared to begin throwing. 

The Giants are hopeful that the shots calm all this down, and Nuñez anticipated being ready for Opening Day. Still, it certainly sounds like this will be a close call. Conor Gillaspie, who is having a huge spring, could get plenty of early time at third. Manager Bruce Bochy doesn't anticipate Nuñez missing Opening Day.

"He should be ready," Bochy said. 

The Giants need all the good injury news they can get. It is expected that Will Smith will announce Friday that he's having Tommy John surgery. 

ICYMI: From this morning, a feature on George Kontos and his rise over the last few years. 

Also, one of the bench candidates, Gordon Beckham, asked for his release. The Giants will soon have to make decisions on Hill and David Hernandez, who have similar retention bonuses due March 28.

GAME RECAP: The Giants played one of their uglier games of the spring, losing 9-2 to King Felix and the Mariners … Matt Moore lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on four hits, two walks, a balk and a wild pitch. It was the same old thing: Moore just all of a sudden lost his command, and because he got up past the 30-pitch mark in the second inning alone, the Giants cut it off. Moore went down to the bullpen and got up to around 80 pitches. He'll make one more start down here, Tuesday against the Cubs ... Joe Panik had a hard double, one of just four hits for the Giants … Chris Marrero hasn’t played a whole lot of left field this spring, and he didn’t show much to the coaches on a couple of opportunities to throw home. The left field situation remains a mystery. 

POSITION BATTLES: Kelby Tomlinson played six innings of left field in a minor league game, and he had to wait until the sixth to get his first and only fly ball. There seemed to be a lot of interest from decision-makers about how Tomlinson fared, and his action today opens up an intriguing possibility. There’s a roster permutation that has the Giants keeping just one reserve outfielder (Gorkys Hernandez) and three backup infielders: Conor Gillaspie, Aaron Hill and Kelby Tomlinson, with the latter two being options in left field. 

FAMILIAR FACE: Angel Pagan made it through the WBC healthy, and he apparently is drawing interest from the Phillies and Blue Jays. Giants people are confident Pagan will get a big league job somewhere over the coming week. 

Giants reliever Will Smith leaning toward season-ending Tommy John surgery

Giants reliever Will Smith leaning toward season-ending Tommy John surgery

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Left-hander Will Smith, a key piece of a revamped bullpen, is leaning toward having Tommy John surgery, manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday night. 

Bochy said surgery was the recommendation of both doctors who examined Smith's elbow this week. Smith will talk to his agent before coming to a final decision on Friday. The procedure would keep Smith out the entire 2017 season and likely would cause him to miss the start of the 2018 season.

Smith, 27, missed the first month of camp because of pain in his throwing elbow. He returned March 17, but during a March 20 outing he again felt pain and called for a trainer. A second round of diagnostics revealed a strain and a sprain in the elbow. Smith saw team orthopedist Dr. Ken Akizuki in San Francisco and flew to Los Angeles this week to get a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlen-Jobe Clinic. 

"They had the same opinion," Bochy said. "There is a tear there. You can try to rehab it and if that doesn't work you're behind a couple of months ... It's not a definite he's going to have it done, but two doctors are in agreement on what this is."

Smith was expected to serve as the late lefty for the Giants, getting setup work in the seventh and eighth innings. With Smith out, the Giants will lean on young lefties Steven Okert, Josh Osich and Ty Blach. 

"We're going to have to have someone step up and help us in the seventh and eighth," Bochy said. "That was going to be will's role. He's a guy we were leaning on."

Smith was acquired from the Brewers at the deadline last season in exchange for right-hander Phil Bickford (who is currently serving a 50-game suspension) and catcher Andrew Susac (who is currently injured). After a shaky start, he finished the regular season with 18 consecutive scoreless appearances. 

The Giants have for the most part avoided Tommy John for 40-man roster pitchers. Hunter Strickland, Derek Law and Josh Osich have all had it during their time in the organization, along with outfielder Mac Williamson. Prospect Ian Gardeck is currently recovering from Tommy John. The last Giants pitcher who was likely headed for the roster before having Tommy John was left-hander Eric Surkamp. He had surgery in 2012.

The timetable is different for every pitcher, but the general consensus is that the procedure sidelines a pitcher for at least a year, and usually closer to 16 months. Matt Moore, Thursday night’s starter, had Tommy John on April 23, 2014. He did not return to a big league mound until July 2, 2015, and even then, he was under restrictions. 

Smith is under team control for two more seasons after this one.