With their backs to against the ropes, the San Jose Sharks will need to stay undefeated at home in order to force a game seven. At the moment they are down 3-2 in the series.
On the plus side, the home team has won all five games in the series, and San Jose wants to make it six.
After being throughouly dominated on Thursday in Los Angeles, the Sharks will have to play much better hockey if they want their series to continue. The good thing is they had two days off to practice and regroup before hitting the ice tonight.
Unfortunately, in game five, it looked like the Jason Demers experiment did not really pan out very well. At times he looked lost on the fourth line, especially on the breakout, and he struggled mightily when under pressure from the very physical Kings’ forecheck.
No doubt the coaching staff saw that as well, and as a result will be making another lineup change tonight.
While that may seem insignificant, he has been one of San Jose’s best penalty killers and having him back in the lineup will help tremendously in that department. The Kings have been dangerous on the power play for this entire series, so hopefully Burish can help to slow things down.
The big news again for the Kings is how well their goaltending has been in this second round. The only problem is, while Jonathan Quick has two shutouts in three Los Angeles wins, there were times on both games where he was just not tested at all.
Take for instance game five for the Sharks were held without a shot on goal for about 18 minutes. And, even if shots were on net, there was nobody in front to screen him. A goaltender of his caliber will make shutouts look easy if guys are not working to make his life difficult.
Also, special teams reared it’s ugly head once again as the Sharks went 0-3 on the power play and only had four shots. That, plus both T.J. Galiardi and Demers took uncharacteristically had penalties, one of which led to a goal that was scored after a power play had expired.
Todd McLellan and the team realize they were just downright awful Thursday night, and know what’s at stake. McLellan said the Sharks were much slower, especially in their own end, and that allowed the Kings to be physically efficient.
With that being said, the Sharks will have to be much cleaner in their own end and much quicker getting the puck down the ice. If they can do those things they’re already better than they were in game five, but will also be setting themselves up for a much more competitive sixth game.