Canucks @ Sharks Game Day Preview - 5/7/2013
Western Conference Quarterfinal Game Four
Western Conference Quarterfinals
#6 San Jose Sharks (25-16-7) at #3 Vancouver Canucks (26-15-7)
Game 4 at 7pm (PST) on Tuesday May 7 in San Jose at HP Pavilion
Sharks lead series 3-0
Please note all games will be carried LIVE locally on CSNCA-HD / 98.5-102.1 FM KFOX and the Sharks Radio Network (all games listed PST)
Wed., May 1 GAME 1 @ Vancouver 7:30pm Sharks WIN 3-1
Fri., May 3 GAME 2 @ Vancouver 7pm Sharks WIN 3-2 OT
Sun., May 5 GAME 3 @ San Jose 7pm Sharks WIN 5-2
Tue., May 7 GAME 4 @ San Jose 7pm
*Thur., May 9 GAME 5 @ Vancouver TBD
*Sat., May 11 GAME 6 @ San Jose TBD
*Mon., May 13 GAME 7 @ Vancouver TBD
Home Sweet Home:
The Sharks lost just twice in regulation at home in the regular season and were even better in the 5-2 win in Game 3 on Sunday.
''We feel good when we play in the building,'' Todd McLellan said. ''Pavs said something after the game about the fans that they almost become his legs at times because they are so energizing.''
Odds in favor of SJ:
Only three times in 172 occurrences (1.7%) has a team comeback and won a series down 3-0 in the Stanley Cup playoffs. (Toronto in 1942, New York Islanders in 1975, and Philadelphia in 2010.)
Previous Playoff Series/Action vs. the Canucks:
2011 Western Conference Final – the #1 seed Vancouver Canucks defeated the #2 seed San Jose Sharks 4-1. (Dan Boyle had the GWG in Game 3 in the Sharks only win of the series)
Game 3 Recap and Video: Click HERE.
Sharks vs. Canucks: Matchups to Look For:
Let’s break it down through Game 3:
Goaltending: - advantage SHARKS
Antti Niemi has been a rock for San Jose posting a 3-0-0 record with a 1.62 GAA and a .945 save %. Roberto Luongo is 0-2-0 with a 2.57 GAA and a .915 save percentage while Cory Schneider is 0-1-0 with a 6.82 GAA and a .821 save %. The Canucks are the only team so far in the Stanley Cup playoffs that has started two different goalies in their series.
Special Teams: - advantage SHARKS
San Jose – The Sharks power play exploded for three goals in Game 3 and is now 4-for-14 (28.5%) in the series. The Canucks are 1-for-7 (14.3%) on the power play in the series. San Jose has had twice as many power plays the Vancouver 14-7.
Shot Blocking: advantage SHARKS
The Sharks have already blocked 57 shots in the first three games of this series with 11 different players blocking a shot in Game 3. The Canucks have blocked 39 shots through Game 3.
San Jose: Martin Havlat left after the first period of play in Game 1 with an undisclosed injury and was replaced by Tim Kennedy for Game 2. Scott Gomez made his Sharks playoff debut in Game 3 in place of forward Tim Kennedy.
Probable Lines for SJ in Game 4:
Vancouver: no injuries reported for the Vancouver after Game 3, and goaltender Cory Schneider who missed Games 1 and 2 due to a “body” injury started Game 3, but was pulled midway through the 3rd period after allowing five goals. Tough guy Tom Sestito made his playoff debut by replacing Andrew Ebbett in Game 3. Expect Roberto Luongo to start Game 4.
Probable lines for VAN in Game 4:
Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Alex Burrows
Mason Raymond – Derek Roy – Jannik Hansen
Chris Higgins – Ryan Kesler – Zack Kassian
Tom Sestito – Maxim Lapierre – Dale Weise
Dam Hamhuis – Jason Garrison
Alex Edler – Kevin Bieksa
Andrew Alberts – Frank Corrado
Shark Bites: (interesting tidbits heading into Game 4)
*Nice Home Record…. The Sharks returned home for Game 3 having posting the best home record during the 2012-13 regular season (17-2-5)… with the Game 3 win on home ice, San Jose is now 38-33 all-time on home ice in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
*Game 4…. San Jose is 14-14 all-time in Game 4’s including a 5-7 record on home ice… the Sharks have lost their last three Game 4s.
*Looking for first sweep… in 28 previous series, the Sharks have never swept and opponent 3-0 in a best of seven series… San Jose has been swept twice (Chicago in 2010 in WCF and Detroit in 1995 WSF).
Vancouver Notes: (interesting tidbits heading into Game 4)
*Playoff Pinch… the Canucks are just 2-11 in their last 13 playoff games and outscored 16-44 during that span.
*Sedins?.... after combining for 18 points (3-15-18) in the five game playoff series vs. San Jose in 2011, the Sedin twins have just four assists through the first three games.
2 Goalies….The Canucks are the only team so far in the Stanley Cup playoffs that has started two different goalies in their series.
What they are saying…
“Our backs are against the wall. We can either crumble or come back and come out swinging … I’m not going down easy. That’s for sure,” said Ryan Kessler.
The first round series in the Stanley Cup playoffs tend to be the most grueling of the playoffs. Not to look to far ahead, but if the Sharks can win Game 4 and get some rest headed into Round 2… things would be looking pretty good… no matter the opponent. The Sharks smell blood and would love to finish off the Canucks on Tuesday night in the Shark Tank!
CANUCKS at SHARKS
(San Jose leads best-of-7 series, 3-0)
TV: CNBC, RDS, TSN, CSN-CA
Big story: The Vancouver Canucks are reeling and none of the changes -- from switching goalies to mixing lines -- has worked, putting them on the brink of another early exit and back into a goaltending controversy as they try to avoid being eliminated by a San Jose Sharks team that has never swept a Stanley Cup Playoff series.
Only three teams in NHL history have come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-7 series, and after losing all six to San Jose this season, there's little to suggest the Canucks will add to that. But the Sharks, who almost blew a 3-0 lead before winning Game 7 against the Detroit Red Wings in 2011, will be wary.
"It's going to be the toughest game," goalie Antti Niemi said. "They're going to put out their best effort, so we got to be ready and we got to go to our next level.”
Canucks: The focus will undoubtedly be on the goaltending after Cory Schneider replaced Roberto Luongo in Game 3 despite being out of game action for almost two weeks, and then gave up a soft third goal at a crucial time in the third period, and another nine seconds later, opening the floodgates for a 5-2 loss.
Luongo, who was excellent despite losing the first two games of the best-of-7 series, went back in for mop-up duty after Schneider was pulled, but when asked whether he should start Game 4, said of Schneider, "It's his team."
Despite all attention on the Canucks' crease, the real problems are at the other end, where Vancouver only has five goals through three games against San Jose, and has now scored just 17 while going 2-11 in its last 13 playoff games overall.
While most of the focus will fall on top-line twins Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin, who combined to set up Alexandre Burrows in Game 3, the reality is Vancouver has gotten little beyond them for two postseasons now, including lengthy droughts for Mason Raymond, Jannik Hansen and Chris Higgins, while NHL Trade Deadline acquisition Derek Roy has been mostly invisible.
Meanwhile the Sharks got two goals from their third-line center, Joe Pavelski, to complement the top players.
Sharks: San Jose players were saying all the right things about not resting on their laurels with a 3-0 lead against the Canucks, but as long as the Sharks' power play remains dominant it's hard to envision Vancouver coming back.
The Sharks scored three power-play goals, including a 5-on-3 to open the scoring, and are now 4-for-17 in this Western Conference Quarterfinal, which also includes a key goal to tie Game 1. They didn't get one in Game 2, but tied it with 55.1 seconds left and goalie Antti Niemi pulled for an extra attacker.
San Jose also killed off an early 4-on-3 before taking the lead for good on the two-man advantage in the first period of Game 3, and killed six of seven Canucks' power plays. Even when the Sharks don't score with the man advantage, they at least generate momentum, something Vancouver has failed to do. With so little room and scoring 5-on-5, special teams play has been the deciding factor.
"They scored on the power play and they get a lot of momentum from them," Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said after taking a bad Game 3 penalty. "They are killing us. Part of winning is staying out of the box and we've got to be calmer."
Who's hot: Logan Couture continued to make his case as the new face of the Sharks with two goals, four points, a couple of key blocked shots, and 15 of 18 faceoffs won in Game 3. With three goals and six points in the series, Couture tops a list of hot Sharks that also includes Patrick Marleau (three goals) and Joe Pavelski (two goals and four assists).