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Aiming to Get Back to Winning Formula in Game 5

Friday, 04.25.2014 / 4:29 PM PT / News
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Aiming to Get Back to Winning Formula in Game 5
Less than 24 hours after the San Jose Sharks lost 6-3 to the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 of their Western Conference First Round series, Sharks coach Todd McLellan gathered his players Friday afternoon to watch video of that defeat.

SAN JOSE -- Less than 24 hours after the San Jose Sharks lost 6-3 to the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 of their Western Conference First Round series, Sharks coach Todd McLellan gathered his players Friday afternoon to watch video of that defeat.

McLellan hammered home the same message he delivered late Friday night in his postgame interview at Staples Center: The Sharks' net play wasn't strong enough at either end of the ice.

The Sharks have a 3-1 lead in their best-of-7 series with Game 5 on Saturday at SAP Center (10:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, RDS2, CBC, FS-W, CSN-CA). They are looking to make amends, end the series, and avoid a Game 6 in Los Angeles.

"They are going to the net hard trying to push [goaltender Antti Niemi] in the crease, keep him in the crease," Sharks center Logan Couture said. "We have to box out, get sticks [on pucks] and then on the opposite end go to the net hard on [Kings goaltender 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."

The Sharks won the first three games by a combined score of 17-8 before falling hard Thursday.

"We allowed six goals, so our net play wasn't great," Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic said. "We only scored three, so it wasn't good enough in the offensive zone too. We've got to be good in both ends."

Stanley Cup Playoff history says the Sharks are in great shape to advance. Three NHL teams have overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-7 series.

The Sharks also own a decided home-ice advantage against the Kings. San Jose has won five straight home playoff games against Los Angeles, three last year in their second-round series and the first two this year.

"They were desperate," Couture said of the Kings' in Game 4. "We played desperate as well. But it's going to be different coming into our building. Our fans are going to be loud. We have to start well. Hopefully get the first goal and play with the lead."

The Sharks grabbed a 3-0 lead at home in Game 1 and cruised to a 6-3 victory. In Game 2, they fell behind 2-0 in the first period but scored seven unanswered goals in a 7-2 rout.

Vlasic said the Sharks have no reason to be nervous or put undue pressure on themselves.

"We're up 3-1, and we can close it out at home tomorrow," Vlasic said. "So we're in a great situation and guys will be ready to play tomorrow."

The series between these Pacific Division rivals has been physical and heated from the start, but the temperature appeared to go up even higher late in the third period with the Kings in command.

At one point while Sharks forward James Sheppard was scuffling with a Kings player, Los Angeles defensemen Willie Mitchell skated by and popped him in the head. Sharks forward Andrew Desjardins quickly came over the boards and onto the ice to confront Mitchell.

After the final horn, Sharks forward Brent Burns and Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr began trading blows.

The Sharks took five roughing penalties and two five-minute fighting majors in the third period. The Kings took three roughing penalties, one cross-checking minor and two five-minute fighting majors.

Does McLellan expect more scrums and fights Saturday?

"It's funny," he said. "We're talking about what goes on after the whistle. The important stuff goes on between the whistles. That'll certainly be a focus of ours, to make sure we channel our energy and focus between the whistles. We don't have to get involved in that stuff. It's a waste of time and energy. We'll approach the game that way."

McLellan sounded more concerned with the number of power-play chances the Kings have had the past two games. L.A. was 2-for-4 in Game 3 and 1-for-5 in Game 4.

"When you look at some of the penalties we've received, too many of them have occurred in the offensive zone, which is normally where you don't take them," McLellan said. "You normally are drawing penalties when you're in the offensive zone.

"We talked about that after Game 3. You want to play aggressive and you want to play on the edge, but you can't play in the penalty box. Both teams have been guilty of that somewhat. But we'll try and clean that up as well."

Author: Eric Gilmore | NHL.com Correspondent

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - ANA 78 49 22 7 227 216 105
2 x - NSH 78 47 22 9 224 193 103
3 STL 76 46 23 7 229 190 99
4 CHI 76 46 24 6 217 176 98
5 MIN 76 44 25 7 219 186 95
6 VAN 77 45 27 5 224 208 95
7 CGY 77 42 28 7 229 204 91
8 WPG 77 39 26 12 217 204 90
9 LAK 76 37 25 14 201 192 88
10 DAL 77 37 30 10 239 248 84
11 SJS 76 37 30 9 212 215 83
12 COL 76 35 29 12 206 213 82
13 EDM 76 23 40 13 185 255 59
14 ARI 77 23 46 8 161 256 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 76 36 31 9 67
L. Couture 76 25 37 -4 62
J. Thornton 72 14 48 -5 62
B. Burns 76 16 40 -6 56
P. Marleau 76 17 36 -17 53
T. Wingels 69 15 20 -5 35
T. Hertl 76 12 17 -2 29
M. Nieto 66 8 16 -11 24
M. Vlasic 70 9 14 12 23
J. Braun 65 1 22 6 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 29 22 7 .914 2.62
A. Stalock 7 7 2 .905 2.55
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