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Sharks look to close out series in game four

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Three straight wins against the Kings have the Sharks in position to sweep a team in the first round for the second year in a row.

Harry How

The San Jose Sharks were outplayed for the majority of Tuesday night's win in Los Angeles, and they were certainly dominated in the 10 minutes over overtime that Antti Niemi allowed them to endure. But somehow, someway, they skated out of Staples Center with a victory after over two years of ineptitude in that building had rendered it somewhat hopeless. That's hockey, baby.

With a 3-0 series lead, the Sharks now have four chances to eliminate their southern California rivals, including two tries at home, if necessary. With all due respect to those holding tickets for games five and seven, I would be just fine with the Sharks closing things out tonight in Los Angeles.

Todd McLellan trolled us real good by starting Joe Pavelski on the first line for all of 30 seconds on Tuesday night before switching Captain America to the third line his very next shift. Mike Brown remained in the lineup and at this point I can't imagine him coming out until the Sharks lose a hockey game. I don't know about you, but I'm okay with Brown on the fourth line all the way to a parade in San Jose if that's what it takes.

Brent Burns had a goal on Tuesday, but I didn't feel like he played particularly well by his standards. He committed some inexcusable turnovers and his roughing penalty on Willie Mitchell was the dictionary definition of the negatives that come with his relentless style of play. It's probably all statistical noise, but if the Sharks could stay off the penalty kill, it would be great for my ulcers!

I doubt the statistics bear this out, but elimination hockey certainly feels different -- perhaps in that I'm usually much less sober and much more stressed out, but I'd be just fine with the Sharks making this the exact opposite of interesting. Score three goals every period without letting the bad guys score one; that's my strategy, why haven't they made me a hockey coach yet?

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Game 4

SJ leads 3-0

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7:30PM PST | Staples Center | Los Angeles, California
TV: CSN-CA, NBCSN, CBC | Radio: 98.5 KFOXSJSharks.com
Projected Sharks Lineup

Joe PavelskiJoe ThorntonBrent Burns
Patrick MarleauLogan CoutureMatt Nieto
Tomas HertlJames SheppardTommy Wingels
Raffi TorresAndrew DesjardinsMike Brown

Marc-Edouard VlasicJason Demers
Brad StuartJustin Braun
Scott HannanDan Boyle

Antti Niemi
Alex Stalock

Projected Kings Lineup

Marian Gaborik - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dustin BrownMike RichardsJeff Carter
Dwight KingJarret StollTrevor Lewis
Tanner PearsonColin FraserJordan Nolan

Jake MuzzinDrew Doughty
Robyn RegehrSlava Voynov
Willie MitchellAlec Martinez

Jonathan Quick
Martin Jones