McLellan: 'I didn't like our net play, plain and simple'
Programming note: Coverage of Game 5 between the Sharks and Kings begins Saturday at 7:00 p.m. on CSN California with Sharks Pregame Live (Channel locations)
SAN JOSE – Antti Niemi didn’t display any signs of frustration about being pulled early in the third period of the Sharks’ 6-3 loss in Los Angeles on Thursday night.
The 30-year-old took a day off on Friday, and is ready to return for Game 5, when the Sharks will get another chance to close out their first round series with the Kings on Saturday night at SAP Center. San Jose leads the series, three games to one.
“I felt, take a day off today. I skated a little bit two days ago, I thought it was a good day to take off today,” he said.
Although he gave up five goals on 28 shots, he’s not concerned about getting right back into the net. Niemi is 3-1 with a 3.45 goals-against average and .889 save percentage through the first four playoff games.
“I thought five goals is way, way too much, but overall I thought I felt good,” Niemi said. “I saw the puck well. I’m not too worried about that.”
Sharks coach Todd McLellan remarked on Thursday night that he wasn’t happy with his team's net play. On Friday, he clarified that he meant not just the Sharks’ net, but the opposing one, too.
“That’s an area that we’ll be looking to improve,” McLellan said, indicating that message was delivered in an afternoon meeting at the Sharks’ practice facility.
Brad Stuart said: “There’s a few things that we can do better. The play around both nets probably, our net and their net. Be a little more cohesive on our forecheck, make sure we’re getting guys into position quicker and working together a little bit better. That will help us play a faster game.”
Logan Couture said he thinks that area of concern should be easily correctable.
“They are going to the net hard trying to push Nemo back in the crease, keep him in the crease,” Couture said. “We have to box out, get sticks, and then on the opposite end go to the net hard on [Jonathan] Quick and make him uncomfortable. Tip-in goals, rebound goals, that’s how we’ve scored all series. We have to get back to that.”