Fourth is Hardest
The San Jose Sharks are in a familiar place up 3-0 in their series with the Vancouver Canucks following their 5-2 Game Three win. The Sharks had a similar strangle-hold on the Detroit Red Wings in the 2011 Western Conference Semi-Finals, only to see the Wings fight back forcing a Game 7.
“We’ve been there as well. You win one and you start to believe and then it gets rolling,” Todd McLellan said. “You’ll hear a lot from their team about winning just one and that put’s the pressure on. Our group has to come to play and be prepared to play hard.”
Brad Stuart was a member of that Red Wings club in 2011 and knows earning the all important fourth game when given the opportunity is essential.
“It was a lesson for sure. Each game in the series, each victory is harder to get. The third victory is harder than the second and the fourth is always the hardest so we have to remember that. It’s going to be the hardest game to win.”
Swimming with Depth
For the third straight game a Sharks centreman found his name all over the score sheet as Joe Pavelski scored twice, added an assist and had six shots on goal. After being held scoreless in the Sharks short playoff run last year getting some points on the board early is relief.
“It’s always nice, it’s such an awesome time to score goals,” admitted Pavelski who has 22 goals in 66 career playoff games. “Growing up watching playoff hockey on TV and you just saw the intensity and you just bring that. Thewith the fans here it’s just an awesome time of year.”
With Pavelski’s goal scoring, in addition to Logan Couture’s emergence as a valuable offensive contributor, allowes for long-time leaders Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau to focus on just playing their high skill game according to McLellan.
“In the past it was Jumbo (Thornton) and Patty (Marleau) have to score. They do have to contribute and they do have to score, but there’s others around them and I think it’s relieved a little bit of pressure from those two top guys.”
The Sharks have a chance to eliminate the Canucks Tuesday night in San Jose at 7pm.
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