Apr 30, 2013, 9:55 AM EDT
Last year the San Jose Sharks’ playoff run lasted all of five games. Will things be any different this time around?
They certainly believe things have changed.
“100 percent,” Sharks forward T.J. Galiardi said in a CSN Bay Area report. “Confidence is one big thing. I don’t think we felt great going into the playoffs. No one admitted it last year, but we didn’t really feel great going into it. This year we’re so balanced up front, that any one of our lines can hurt other teams.
“It’s going to be hard for other teams to try and figure out how to match up against us. We feel way better about it this year than last year.”
The Sharks’ season was one of extremes. They won their first seven games, only to follow it up with a 5-10-6 stretch. Not long after that they got on another seven-game winning streak and eventually landed the sixth seed.
Along the way, the Sharks think they found a team identity.
“I think in the past 15-20 games we’ve found what made us successful and gives us success on the ice, and that’s playing a north-south game,” forward Tommy Wingels said.
“At times you can make pretty plays, but at other times you’ve just got to advance the puck. With teams swarming and constantly hounding the puck, you’ve got to move forward. That’s something we’ve got to continue to do.”
It helps that the Sharks have been one of the best teams in the league when it comes to killing penalties and that goaltender Antti Niemi has been strong, even during the Sharks’ rough patches.
“We’ve been playing a better game for a longer period now, and we’ve had more unity with our team as far as lines and pairings go down the stretch than we did last year,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan.
The question is if it will be enough when their first-round series against the Vancouver Canucks starts on Wednesday.
- Marchand: If Bruins miss playoffs, ‘this is going to be a much different group next year’ 13
- Is Lecavalier offering to retire early to facilitate trade out of Philly? 22
- Hextall insists he’s ‘on the same page’ with Snider 13
- Krejci ‘probable’ to return versus Ducks 10
- Flyers announce Simmonds, MacDonald done for the season with injuries 18
- Video: Flyers crush Blackhawks, Voracek joins league lead in points 11
- Report: Draft Lottery to be held on Apr. 18 13
- Sens tell fans to stop throwing hamburgers 35
- NHL confirms working with Isles, Leddy regarding Twitter threats (Updated) 16
- Snider: Patience is ‘great with the kids,’ but not with ‘the team we have on the ice’ 11
- Dreger: ‘In Kessel’s case, I firmly believe he’s going to be traded’ (73)
- Red Wings beat Blues in OT, but should winning goal count? (56)
- Tank-worthy? Connor McDavid finishes OHL season with 120 points in 47 games (56)
- Asst. GM Guerin admits Penguins need to lay off the refs (52)
- Report: No fine or suspension for Tyler Toffoli’s hit on Alex Burrows (51)