Game 3 of West final is crucial

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:19 PM ET

EDMONTON - CHICAGO This is it. Since 3-0 series comebacks are a once-in-a-generation thing, and this generation already had its miracle in the last round, the San Jose Sharks realize theyre one coffin nail away from a eulogy.

Conversely, the Blackhawks realize that if they give the Sharks a single breath of life, Chicago might be the team in the pine box when this is over.

Were only three games into the series, but both sides are scared as hell of losing this one.

We expect them to fight like dogs, said Jonathan Toews. I think both teams will be playing like its a Game 7.

It almost is. Sharks lose, theyre done. Hawks lose and the series is back on.

We dont want to give San Jose any life at all, said Patrick Sharp. Theyre a great team over there and weve all seen what momentum can do in a playoff series. You look around the league and teams are coming back from 3-1, 3-0. We know what situation were in and its far from over.

On that, the two teams agree.

We were in this position last series against Detroit, said San Joses Dan Boyle. You dont want to give them a pulse. Their game plan is to go up 3-0 and finish this off. I think thats a good attitude they need to have. Ours is obviously to get ourselves back into this thing. Well get that pulse and well grow from it, be a better team.

You can start to see an edge, a sense of anger in the Sharks room. It might be two games too late, but its an ingredient thats often missing from a talented lineup that always seems to lack the necessary playoff intensity.

I did like to see it, said head coach Todd McClellan. Youre allowed to be passionate at this time of the year. We expect that. We expect you to be frustrated when its not going your way. But its what you do with that, how you handle it, how you channel it. We as a group, as a team, likely wont be good enough to beat Chicago and frustration. We have to pick one or the other. If we end up trying to beat the frustration all the time, we wont have enough left in our tanks to beat Chicago. If we channel it, try to target Chicago, use our frustration on them, we have a chance to come back.

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca


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