Game 4 notes: Power play has found its groove


Game 4 notes: Power play has found its groove


Maybe their overall power-play numbers dont leave you warm and tingly all over -- not when youve got the Tampa Bay Lightning humming along at 24 percent -- but if you peek a bit closer at what the Sharks are doing to the Vancouver Canucks, you realize theyve had a decided power-play edge so far.

Todd McLellans power play has scorched the Canucks for six goals in 13 chances through three games.

Thats an amazing 46.1 percent efficiency and it includes a 5-for-5 run that ended late in the opening period of Game 3, which the Sharks won, 4-3.

Its funny, said Dan Boyle, whos on the first-unit PP. Two series ago, it was how bad we were. And we were. We just didnt have it that first series against Los Angeles. Now, so far, weve got going and its the same guys. We havent changed anything. Were executing, were finding ways. Were just being opportunistic. At the end of the day, youve got to score the goal. Were finding ways to put the puck into the net.

The Sharks were 3-for-10 with the man advantage in Game 3.

You get streaky, individuals get hot, Boyle said. Power plays get hot. And power plays get cold. Right now, were just finding ways. Were on a hot streak right now and weve got to take it and run with it.

Ryane Clowe, Patrick Marleau and Devin Setoguchi each have three power play goals in the playoffs.

In this series, Marleau has three power play goals.

RATTO: McLellan keeping doom in the air

Things are going your way and its definitely a game of inches, Marleau said. You just put in the work, keep going to the same areas, the hard areas and good things happen.

Snarling Joe Thornton?: Joe Thornton might be a lot of things to a lot of people. But intense? Snarly? You dont hear that very often from players when talking about Thornton.

Lets be real. He sometimes comes off as Joe the surfer dude in his t-shirt, blue jeans, and white sneakers.

Thornton leads all scorers in the playoffs with 17 points (three goals, 14 assists) and has been an impact player for the Sharks, while trying to eradicate a lot of past playoff failures both here and in Boston.

However, his buddy, Clowe, says that Thornton is a lot more intense than the public realizes when the puck drops.

Hes very competitive, Clowe said. He always has a snarl. You guys dont always see it. Hes a competitive guy, hes intense. He might not seem that way in all the interviews because hes pretty mellow.

Apparently, little things mean a lot to Thornton.

The little things that tick Joe off is if you dont open the gate quick enough on the bench or if the goalie is in the way when he tries to sit down on the bench, Clowe said.

Hes got funny ways that get him riled up. During the game, he is so fired up. A couple of years ago in Detroit, he got mad at me because I wasnt opening the gate quick enough. He tells me Im too slow on the gate. I told him, hes big enough to jump over the boards.

Tough skate: Most coaches take every opportunity to give players rest between games when the next game is an early afternoon start, such as Sundays noon start here.

Yet, McLellan took his players on the ice for a pretty brisk, maybe even intense skate, which we might add, the Sharks often do when they play a noon game.

The purpose was to reinforce among his players the hard skate work ethic McLellan believes has to carry over into Game 4 if the Sharks are to tie this series.

I thought it was important for our hockey club to skate today, McLellan said. We felt it was important to get back on the ice before the noon start just to feel it again, get our legs moving, feel the puck a little bit.

It wasn't an overly extensive practice. There wasn't a lot of exertion. We brought all of our black aces, if you want to call them that, on the ice, so the reps were down. It was more a cleaning-out process, resetting the mental part of the game again.

Canucks reaction: So Jamie McGinn avoided a suspension for his boarding hit that knocked defenseman Aaron Rome out of the series in Game 3.

Fellow defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, another victim of a McGinn hit earlier that game, is also out. But it was the Rome hit (suspected concussion) that was reviewed by the NHL on Saturday.

PANACCIO: Sharks need to stay physical in Game 4
Kevin Bieksa, himself no stranger to tough hits come this time of year, was asked whether a suspension to McGinn was in order.

I don't know, Bieksa replied. Obviously, my opinion doesn't matter a whole lot. You just look at the injury that happened from the play, and obviously Aaron was pretty banged up after that hit. The league did what they felt they had to do, I guess. There's your boring answer.

Vancouver is expected to replace Rome and Ehrhoff with Keith Ballard and Andrew Alberts for Game 4.

Both those players are coming in cold and that could present a communication problem behind the Canucks net for goalie Roberto Luongo, in terms of calling off guys on pucks coming into the back end, not to mention handoffs between himself and his d-men under pressure when the Sharks are forechecking.

Communication is always important, Luongo said. Also, it's going to be important for them to make sure they look at the video and see what the Sharks like to do when they have the puck behind the net, the plays they like to make.

We have to make sure we're on the same page of what we're giving up and what I'm expecting.

Tim Panaccio covers thePhiladelphia Flyers for and let him know what you think! Follow Tim @tpanotch.

Instant Replay: Sharks picked apart by Predators, losing streak continues

Instant Replay: Sharks picked apart by Predators, losing streak continues


NASHVILLE – The Sharks’ road trip somehow got worse, before mercifully coming to an end on Saturday in Nashville.
For the second time in two nights, the Sharks were handled with ease by their opponent as Nashville skated to a 7-2 win at Bridgestone Arena. San Jose lost its sixth straight, all in regulation, including all four games on its road trip.
Colton Sissons and James Neal each had two goals to lead Nashville.
The Sharks have been outscored 13-3 in their last two games, including Friday night’s disastrous 6-1 defeat to lowly Dallas. The last time San Jose lost all of its games in regulation on a road trip of at least four games was March 19-29, 1993 (0-6-0).
The Sharks lost center Logan Couture late in the second period, when he was hit squarely in the mouth with a deflected puck and did not return, appearing to loose at least one tooth on the play. Couture immediately charged towards the dressing room after he was struck.
Trailing 2-0 to start the second period, Patrick Marleau cut the lead in half on the power play, when he redirected a Brent Burns pass at 4:24.
Nashville responded right away, though, when Marcus Sorensen was caught high-sticking P.K. Subban. Neal capped off a pretty passing play with his third goal in as many games against the Sharks this season, whipping it in from the circle just 24 seconds after Marleau’s score.
Subban upped the Preds’ lead to 4-1, when Martin Jones lost sight of the puck and the Nashville defenseman whizzed it just inside the post on a shot from the wall at 14:39.
Justin Braun brought the Sharks back to within 4-2 with his first goal in 20 games at 16:19 of the second period, but San Jose didn’t get any momentum from the tally. Sissons and Neal each got their second of the night in the final frame, including Neal’s on the power play while Micheal Haley was serving a match penalty.
Viktor Arvidsson’s shorthanded goal at 19:22 capped the scoring, and another embarrassing night for San Jose.
The Preds scored the only two goals of the first period. At 4:14, Sissons parked in front of the net and whacked in a pass from Colin Wilson, who outmuscled Tomas Hertl on a loose puck behind the net.
Cody McLeod made it 2-0. After Roman Josi walked Burns just inside the blue line, the defenseman's shot hit the crossbar and McLeod was in front to poke it over the line at 15:19.
The Predators improved to 6-1-0 in their last seven, and took over third place in the Central Division ahead of St. Louis.
The Sharks are just 1-5-0 in their last six regular season games in Nashville, with the lone win coming in a shootout. Saturday was their only visit of the season.
Special teams 
The Sharks went 1-for-3 on the power play, while Nashville was 2-for-4. Perhaps the only good news for San Jose lately is its power play could be coming out of its season-long slump, going 4-for-17 over the last seven games.
Marleau has seven power play goals this season.
Haley was kicked out of the game for attempting to injure Calle Jarnkrok in the third period.
In goal
Jones lost for the fourth time in his last five decisions, allowing seven goals on 34 shots, and is just 1-4-2 in his career in the regular season against the Predators.
Pekka Rinne made 26 saves, winning his fourth straight start while allowing just five total goals over that span. He’s 11-6-4 career against the Sharks.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic was scratched due to illness, although he did not appear to be walking right after Friday’s game in Dallas when he took just one shift in the third period. San Jose is 2-4-1 when its top defensive defenseman doesn’t dress.
Chris Tierney was also out, and is day-to-day with an upper body injury. Timo Meier returned to the lineup after he was a healthy scratch on Friday.
Joe Pavelski played in his 800th career game.
Up next
The Sharks return home to host the Rangers on Tuesday. It’s their first meeting since New York’s 7-4 win on Oct. 17 at Madison Square Garden in the third game of the season.

A's 17-year-old prospect 'Lazarito' makes Cactus League debut

A's 17-year-old prospect 'Lazarito' makes Cactus League debut

Lazaro Armenteros, the A’s 17-year-old stud outfield prospect better known as “Lazarito,” is believed to have become the youngest player in franchise history to appear in a Cactus League game.

Armenteros entered at the DH spot in the eighth against the Dodgers and went 0-for-2, flying out to right-center and popping up to shallow center. With the A’s short on position players, Armenteros was brought over from minor league camp and got a little exposure to the big league environment.

“He’s quite athletic, and I know they love him over there” at minor league camp, A's manager Bob Melvin recently said.

Armenteros also got a chance to mingle with Dodger outfielder (and fellow Cuban) Yasiel Puig before the game.

“Over there (in Cuba) you kind of play the game because you like it and you enjoy it,” Armenteros recently said through interpreter Juan Dorado. “Here, it’s more like a job. There’s more preparation.”

Armenteros will stay in Arizona through extended spring training and then head to play in the Dominican Summer League.