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Sharks Look For Improved Performance

Friday, 05.24.2013 / 2:31 PM / News
By Jonathan Okanes  - Staff Writer
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Sharks Look For Improved Performance

Center Logan Couture was pointing fingers after the Sharks loss Thursday night - most notably, at himself.

“We were bad tonight, myself included,” Couture said after San Jose dropped a 3-0 decision to the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals at Staples Center. “That’s the reason we lost. We’re not going to win if our best players are not our best players. That’s reality. We need to step up.”

Players like Couture, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau had made an impact through the first four games of the series, but the Kings were able to silence them and other top Sharks on Thursday. Part of that was due to improved play by Los Angeles, but the Sharks feel like they didn’t play to their potential.

“You have to give L.A. credit. They played well, too,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “But our go-to guys weren’t particularly sharp tonight. When that happens, your depth has to come through as well. They have to provide a spark. Logan is very accurate in those comments, but this was a team loss. This wasn’t just a few guys.”

The Sharks were especially dissatisfied with their power play. San Jose went 0-for-3 with the man-advantage and didn’t at any point muster much of a scoring threat. During two of the power plays, the Kings spent a sustained stretch in the San Jose zone.

“When we put those types of players out on the power play, we should be able to execute a lot better than we did,” McLellan said.

The Sharks had scored four goals in the previous two games combined, and three of those came on the power play. Both games ended up as San Jose wins, including a 2-1 victory in Game 3 when both goals came with the man-advantage.

“It kind of looked like it was a little bit nervous for some reason,” Thornton said of the Sharks’ power play unit. “I don’t know why. For whatever reason, we just didn’t have poise on the power play. If our power play is going good, you can see guys get some confidence. When it doesn’t, you can see guys kind of get down. That’s what happened tonight.”

While the Sharks now face elimination in the best-of-seven series, they can be confident knowing Game 6 is at HP Pavilion. The home team has won every game in the series so far, and both the Sharks and Kings have been dominant in their own buildings during the regular season and playoffs.

“You have to be confident,” Couture said. “The season is on the line. We’re playing for our lives. I expect us to be a desperate team. I expect our best players to be way better, myself included, in Game 6.”

The Sharks can feel even better about home-ice advantage because the success of the home team is a league-wide trend. Entering Thursday, 67.2% of playoff games this season had been won by the home team. Not since 1993 have the home teams won more than 60 percent of their games.

“It’s just a loss,” Thornton said. “Now we have to go up North and win.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 82 41 38 23 79
J. Thornton 82 11 65 20 76
P. Marleau 82 33 37 0 70
L. Couture 65 23 31 21 54
B. Burns 69 22 26 26 48
T. Wingels 77 16 22 11 38
D. Boyle 75 12 24 -8 36
J. Demers 75 5 29 14 34
T. Hertl 37 15 10 11 25
M. Nieto 66 10 14 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Stalock 12 5 2 .932 1.87
A. Niemi 39 17 7 .913 2.39
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