That's what McLellan called it.
I'm going to try to look at the positives, 44 shots to 26. 40 hits to 28. 53% on the face-offs. I'd like to look at those stats and say the Sharks are the better team. I know that they are. Was it just bad luck, two days in a row?
This this is a tough pill to swallow, and I'm sick of making excuses. I'd love to be able to say that the Sharks are going to bounce back, but there are no guarantees. I'm not counting them out, not at all. But what the hell is wrong with this team?
As I walked down Santa Clara St. after the game, I heard cliche after cliche.
"They don't want it enough".
"They don't know how to elevate their game."
"Our defense really has to step up."
"The Sharks just don't know how to take advance of their chances."
BS, BS, BS, BS. There are issues, for sure, but I'm going to give credit where credit is due. Hiller has been amazing. The Ducks defense (led by Niedermayer tonight) has blocked and interfered their way to a 2-0 series lead. The penalty kill has been nothing short of fantastic.
The players and coaches said all the right things after the game. There's no denying that the Sharks want this series. But they've got to clean up their game if they want to turn this around. First off, they skated poorly: I can't remember how many times a player blew a tire. Second, even though he played better and longer than Shelley, Lemieux played only six minutes. I understand the need to use your top players, but he deserved to be on the ice more. He was creating opportunities, throwing his weight around. He was a machine. Also, where was Goc? He played only 4:56, and he's been one of the team's better players since he returned from injury. I would have expected that his line would have been used in our zone, when a defensive stop was needed, but no dice.
Third... the mo-frickin power play. A team that doesn't convert on the man advantage is a team that doesn't advance in the playoffs. If they're not working on the power play 8 hours a day for the next 48 hours, they're going to be in trouble.
Here's hoping we get some of that "puck luck" that everyone keeps taking about. That, or Hiller stops being awesome. I'll take either.
One additional thing: Even without the goal tonight, I really liked what I saw from Cheechoo tonight. He's got the fire, I hope it spreads.