Game 4 notes: Sharks need Game 7 approach

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Game 4 notes: Sharks need Game 7 approach

May 22, 2011SHARKS PAGE SHARKS VIDEO
BOX SCORETim Panaccio
CSNCalifornia.com

SAN JOSE -- Throughout the playoffs, the Sharks have talked about playing better hockey when pressed.

They often come off bad defeats with more inspired play. The adrenalin kicks in when faced with elimination, like they were in the previous playoff series against Detroit.

Well, now Todd McLellans Sharks have to win three games in succession or their playoffs are over. Tuesdays Game 5 is really a Game 7.

At least, a Game 7 approach.

Probably not a lot I have to tell them, McLellan said. Their backs are against the wall as close as they can be. We kind of laid it on the line in the third period tonight, that third phase, if you will, that's what we'll be looking to do in Vancouver.

We know we've got a tough task ahead of us. Vancouver knows, we know, Detroit knows, Chicago knows that anything can happen.

Changes will be made.

We've got to clean some parts of our game up, McLellan said. Obviously the powerplay has to be better. When you get those opportunities, you have to take at least advantage of one, maybe two of them. It has to be better, so we'll look at that.

But we've got a little bit of time here over the next day or two to regroup and to get ready to play.

Patrick Marleau, who had an assist in the game, says the Sharks can come back.

We need more and we can do better, he said. We have another chance to go in there to Vancouver and do it.

Unprepared and dull: McLellan said his team wasnt sharp in most any aspect of its game right from the start.

So, was that a mental or physical issue with his club?

I wish I had the answer, McLellan said. You could see it. We got what we wanted. We got some energy. We got the crowd into it. We earned opportunities on the power play. You could see the passes.

We watched a couple of them. The passing was off. The receiving was off. The timing was off. There wasn't much rhythm. I have to believe some of that's mental, some of it's physical, a combination of both.

Old, Finnish flash: Sami Salo missed the first four and a half months of this past NHL season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

On Sunday, the 36-year-old Finnish defenseman, playing on a repaired, aging ankle, had a major impact in the Sharks 4-2 Game 4 Western Conference finals loss that gave the Canucks a 3-1 series choke hold.

Salo scored on two of the three playoff-record consecutive Vancouver 5-on-3 power plays that gave the Canucks a stunning 3-0 lead in the second period, and pretty much iced the game.

In his entire 12 years in the NHL, this was the biggest impact hes ever had in a conference final.

McLellan admitted that Vancouvers subtle change of using Salo on those 5-on-3 units represented a completely different look that the Sharks were unprepared for.

For sure it's been a long journey this year, having a tough offseason, Salo said. But we worked really hard to get to this point. Now, it's really exciting.

First time in my long career that I have a chance to play in the Western Conference Finals. Playing against a great team, it couldn't be any better.

It also helped having Henrik Sedin tee it up for the point during those two-man advantages.

I don't think it matters who is playing the point when he has the puck, Salo said.

Loose pucks: With both Christian Ehrhoff and Aaron Rome injured, Cancuks coach Alain Vigneault went with Keith Ballard and rookie Chrisopher Tanev as a defensive pair. Surprise than Tanev got the nod over veteran Andrew Alberts, but Tanev gave Vancouver a right-handed shot, too. Jamie McGinn, who personally took out Ehrhoff and Rome in this series with hit, came barreling down the side boards on Ballard in the second period. Ballard saw him, ducked and timed a perfect hip check to send McGinn sprawling. He then gave him a glove to the mouth at the net, too. By the end of the second period, 8 of the last 10 goals in the series had been scored on the power play.
Tim Panaccio is the NHL Insider for CSNPhilly.com E-mail him at tpanotch@comcast.net

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

BOX SCORE

Hit five home runs, and a team has to like its chances of winning.

The A’s simply couldn’t keep up with the Houston Astros’ bats, however, in an 11-8 loss Wednesday night that snapped Oakland’s four-game winning streak. Khris Davis went deep twice, and Ryon Healy, Jed Lowrie and Matt Olson all went deep as the A’s set their season high for home runs.

But Houston racked up 17 hits against Jesse Hahn (3-6) and four relievers and evened this three-game series at a game apiece. It was the second time Hahn has gotten knocked around by Houston inside of a week.

The A’s took an early lead, 5-4, in the third on the second of Davis’ two homers, part of a four-run rally for Oakland. But the Astros answered right back with five runs in the bottom half, and the A’s never recovered from that momentum swing.

Hahn’s struggles continue: Hahn was trying to rebound after the Astros hung nine earned runs on him last Thursday at the Coliseum. Things didn’t improve Wednesday at Minute Maid Park, as the right-hander lasted just two-plus innings and allowed six runs on nine hits. Is this a case of one team simply having Hahn’s number or do the A’s make a move and try someone else in the rotation? It bears watching.

Krush Davis x 2: It was apparent early this would be a slugfest, with Khris Davis homering twice within the first three innings as the A’s tried to keep pace. He led off the second with a shot to left field, then came back with a three-run blast to left in the third that put Oakland up 5-4. The homers were his team-leading 20th and 21st.

Reddick-ulous night: Josh Reddick filled up the stat sheet against his old team in every way imaginable. He went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs, and twice caught the A’s by surprise by stealing third base. For good measure, he turned in an excellent running catch in right field to rob Yonder Alonso.

Strange offensive night: What to make of this night offensively for the A’s? They hit a season-high five homers but also struck out a whopping 17 times. No matter … you can’t hang this one on the offense, because …

The pitching staff just couldn’t hold things down: Josh Smith was called upon to hold down the fort after Hahn departed in the third, but Smith was tagged for three runs on four hits. Daniel Coulombe and John Axford also got touched for runs. Rookie Michael Brady did turn in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

WASHINGTON – Albert Almora Jr. didn’t use Wednesday’s Oval Office photo op as a subtle form of political protest, but it did sort of look like the Cubs outfielder gave President Donald Trump the middle finger, at least from that angle in an image that went viral on Twitter.    

“There was two fingers! Look closely, there was two fingers!” a veteran player yelled across the room as reporters gathered around Almora’s locker inside the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park. 

“Guys were giving me a hard time about it,” Almora said, “but I pointed out the second finger. We’re all good.”

In another White House visit that didn’t look nearly as unofficial or informal as the Cubs said it would be, one snapshot became Almora with part of his left hand in his pocket. Almora stood near Kris Bryant – who held a 45 Wrigley Field scoreboard panel – and Trump at his desk with the World Series trophy.

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate,” Almora said with a laugh. “I’m getting ready to take a picture and I’m posing there. But you guys know that I would never do that to the president of the United States. 

“I respect everybody. It is what it is. We laugh about it now, but there’s definitely two fingers out there.”

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