Balancing Momentum With Poise

Sharks Display Confidence, Poise In Game 7 Victory

Thursday, 05.12.2011 / 11:15 PM PT / News
By Alison High  - Staff Writer
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Balancing Momentum With Poise
San Jose Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle (22) is chased by Detroit Red Wings left wing Justin Abdelkader during the third period in Game 5 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinal playoff series in San Jose, Calif., Sunday, May 8, 2011. Detroit won 4-3. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
There were two serious momentum shifts in Game 7 on Thursday. After the Sharks came out and scored two goals in the opening period, Detroit responded by outshooting San Jose 17-6 and adding a backhanded goal by Henrik Zetterburg in the second.

The second momentum shift came after the second intermission. The Sharks came out of their locker room and displayed poise, composure and confidence in the third period. Exercising their postseason demons, San Jose got the game winning goal from Patrick Marleau and held off a strong push by the Red Wings in the final minutes of the game.

So what was said during the second intermission that gave the Sharks the poise they needed to finish off the Red Wings?

“I think the message was to just go out there and don’t be afraid of mistakes,” said defenseman Dan Boyle. “If you’re afraid, that’s when you’re going to make the mistakes. They always make the baseball analogy: take a swing at it. So I thought we did a good job of that.”

It’s only fitting that the most intense game of the Sharks postseason would be won through poise.

San Jose Sharks right wing Ryane Clowe, right, and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Ruslan Salei, left, battle for the puck behind the net during the first period of Game 7 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinal playoff series Thursday, May 12, 2011, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
“In the third, we grabbed the puck in our own end under pressure, settled down and made some plays,” said right wing Ryane Clowe. “We had some two-on-ones, had a three-on-two. Obviously Detroit is going to try and make a push so they had their D pinching and we capitalized on an odd-man rush.”

There was one other element that allowed the Sharks to gain momentum in the first period: they scored the first goal of the game. When Devin Setoguchi notched his power play goal at 12:20 of the first period, it gave the Sharks momentum. Not only had they scored their first power play goal in three games, they did it on their first opportunity. Doing that built confidence within their team and within their home crowd.

“You never want to say it as a coach because if it doesn’t happen, you can’t always recover from it,” said head coach Todd McLellan when he was asked about the importance of getting on the board first. “But I thought the first goal was going to be really important. It kept the fans in it.”
So will the Sharks be able to build on this momentum going into the next series with Vancouver?

“If we can bring the same intensity – definitely,” said center Joe Pavelski. “But they had a tough series as well. And they’re ready. They’ve had a few days – it’s not like they’ve been off for two weeks. They just played a few weeks ago. So it’s hard to say.”

“Yes, I hope so,” said goaltender Antti Niemi about overlapping the momentum into the Western Conference Finals. “We have to take the battle level from this game.”

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 76 47 22 7 222 213 101
2 NSH 75 46 21 8 214 180 100
3 STL 74 46 21 7 226 182 99
4 CHI 74 44 24 6 209 172 94
5 MIN 75 43 25 7 215 185 93
6 VAN 74 43 27 4 212 199 90
7 WPG 75 39 24 12 212 197 90
8 LAK 74 37 23 14 199 184 88
9 CGY 75 40 28 7 219 199 87
10 DAL 75 36 29 10 232 240 82
11 SJS 74 36 30 8 207 210 80
12 COL 74 34 28 12 200 206 80
13 EDM 75 22 40 13 181 254 57
14 ARI 75 23 44 8 158 249 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 74 35 31 10 66
J. Thornton 70 14 48 -4 62
L. Couture 74 24 36 -3 60
B. Burns 74 16 38 -5 54
P. Marleau 74 17 35 -16 52
T. Wingels 67 15 19 -6 34
T. Hertl 74 12 17 -1 29
M. Nieto 64 8 16 -11 24
M. Vlasic 69 9 14 13 23
M. Karlsson 45 13 9 -2 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 29 22 7 .914 2.62
A. Stalock 6 7 1 .903 2.65
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