No outward signs of panic the day after bad Sharks loss

No outward signs of panic the day after bad Sharks loss
February 4, 2014, 2:00 pm
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Nobody wants to carry a bad taste in their mouths going into the break. Whatever we do over the next two nights is going to be the flavor we leave with.
Todd McLellan

Programming note: Stars-Sharks coverage begins Wednesday at 7 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California

SAN JOSE – Indications are that there were no panic-stricken, emergency meetings at Sharks Ice the day after what was probably the team's worst effort of the season, a 5-2 loss on Monday at home to Philadelphia.

Players showed up at the usual time, and went through the standard routine before a practice that lasted approximately 45 minutes.

Still, Sharks coach Todd McLellan and his staff had a laundry list of what they wanted to accomplish headed into the final two games before the Olympic break – three things, to be precise.

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The first was individual preparation. “That was individuals meeting and seeing, and trying to work on their games,” McLellan said.

“I think it was sobering when some of them saw the input into the game last night. Once you go back and you watch it and you zero in and start highlighting areas and individuals, it can be pretty sobering.”

The next was the team approach, and a refresher of what needs to be done collectively on offense and defense.

Then, it was practice time, the focus of which was “more of a commitment on the ice, to what happens throughout the neutral zone and into our zone,” said the head coach.

The Sharks have lost four of their last five games, all in regulation, and will host Dallas on Wednesday and Columbus on Friday. Both opposing clubs have played streaky hockey this season, but are by no means pushovers for a struggling San Jose group.

They are also two teams fighting to either remain in the playoff picture in Columbus or claw into the top eight like the Stars. The Sharks will have their hands full with what should be two desperate teams as the season is starting to get late.

Although they are locked into second place in the Pacific Division no matter what happens the rest of the week, going into the Olympic break with six losses in seven games would be, well, not good.

“Nobody wants to carry a bad taste in their mouths going into the break,” McLellan said. “Whatever we do over the next two nights is going to be the flavor we leave with. I believe in the group in there that they have it in them there to play well at home for two games. I really do.”

Patrick Marleau said: “Those last few games, you’ve got to live with them for awhile, so there’s going to be a lot of importance on it. You want to be feeling good, and you want to be playing well as a team.”

Are the Sharks already on mental vacation, though? Not even McLellan was sure when it came to Monday’s convincing loss.

“I don’t know if last night’s game was a direct result of [11] days off coming up in a matter or days, but I do know we have two more work nights ahead of us, and we better put the work in,” he said.

* * *

McLellan would not reveal his goaltender for Wednesday’s game. Antti Niemi was pulled on Monday in favor of Alex Stalock after allowing four goals, several soft, against the Flyers.