Sharks sharpen teeth

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 4:33 PM ET


 SAN JOSE -- The reply came in true Darryl Sutter style.

 Moments after his Calgary Flames won Tuesday night's game in San Jose and gained the 2-0 Western Conference final series lead that came with it, Sutter was pressed how he felt about where his team stood.

 "Hell of a lot better than 0-2, I know that," deadpanned the Flames GM-head coach.

 Sitting on that side of the coin would be Ron Wilson.

 Somehow, and to the surprise of so many around the hockey world, it's the Flames who left the Shark Tank with two wins. And it's the Sharks, the West's No. 2 seed, who must regroup.

 And they need to turn the tables in a hurry -- like tonight's Game 3 at the Saddledome -- before the best-of-seven series gets too far out of their grasp.

 The onus is now on Wilson, the man who replaced Sutter as Sharks bench boss 17 months ago, to come up with the game plan.

 "There's no super-secret stuff to what we do," Wilson said.

 "The main thing for me is to convince our team, I suppose, that it's possible for us to win the series. That's all.

 "You'll see who rises to the top here and this is where you find out the leadership on your team. There will be some people who will shrink back, others who will step forward.

 "You rely on the people who step forward and, hopefully, they can create enough of an impact on the guys who are struggling right now to push them or pull them forward with them."

 The last time the Sharks were seen leaving their home rink, it was to a chorus of boos. Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov was targeted with Bronx cheers for failing to make the big saves, while Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff -- the man found expendable in the Bay Area -- was holding strong.

 Certainly, the time was right for the Sharks to get out of Dodge.

 "It would be easier to calm the situation down on the road," Wilson said. "Obviously, we're going to have to deal with a very hostile environment right off the bat in Calgary (tonight) in the first 10 minutes. We're going to have to weather a heck of a storm."

 Start displaying why they're the top seeds in the series, too.

 Why Calgary left Silicon Valley with a pair of wins comes down to more than just grit and hard work. It's the Flames who are using their speed to cause havoc. It's the Flames winning battles for loose pucks, getting to the net and creating chances.

 The Sharks, more of a puck-possession squad as opposed to Calgary's dump-and-chase style, aren't hitting the offensive zone as a unit, aren't skating with the same ferocity, aren't forechecking with the same tenacity and aren't making plays.

 "We just overhandled the puck," Wilson said. "Our strength has been moving the puck quickly and (Tuesday) we were handling it, just not moving the puck with the authority we need to generate the attack. Once that starts, the forwards start going to different spots and the whole thing breaks down."

 But Wilson isn't panicking.

 "We've lost two and three games in a row. We lost two in a row to Colorado and everybody wrote us off that we were going to lose them all ... We've been resilient all season long, I don't see why it would change now."


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