Sharks need to finish the kill in L.A.
San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan was quick to tell the media after Sunday night’s raucous 7-2 win over the LA Kings that his team couldn’t let their first two playoff wins go to their heads:
“The building is tough to play in, in LA. (The Kings will) have the energy from crowd… And our game has to get better than it has been. There are some areas that we have to improve in and it’s going to be tough. Very tough.”
Play better? Things to improve upon?
That might seem a little negative given that the Sharks have jumped to a 2-0 series lead over the Kings in the first round of the Stanly Cup Playoffs.
San Jose has demonstrated offensive depth, breaking several franchise records in the process. Their seven unanswered goals in Game 2 set a new club playoff record for most goals at home, most consecutive goals in a playoff game and most points in a playoff game with 19.
Even with 12 different Sharks scoring points that night, McLellan cautioned:
“The scores are irrelevant. These could have been two triple overtime wins for us. That’s all you get, is a win. You don’t get goals for or goals against that count for anything.”
The coach does, in fact, have a strong point.
As exciting as it is to notch two blowouts against a bitter rival, two games does not a series make.
The Kings themselves have proved that in the past: After going down 2-0 in the Western Conference last post-season to the St. Louis Blues, the Kings rebounded to win four games in a row and head to the semis.
Where, as San Jose fans would like to forget, the Kings beat the Sharks in seven games to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
Logan Couture admitted after Sunday’s win that the Kings weren’t their normal selves in that second tilt, and that the Sharks could expect a different opposing product out on the ice for Game 3:
“(The Kings) were kind of running around out of position, and it opened up holes for us. Some bad changes by them again, it was so uncharacteristic of their team. We know that they’re going to be a lot better going forward, in their building. It’s going to be a tougher challenge going forward.”
Sounds like the idea of keeping the series in perspective and not getting too juiced about the two blowout wins is widespread throughout the team psyche.
So maybe nobody should remind the Sharks that they’re 6-1 all-time when they take a two-games-to-none series lead?