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 they’re 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.

We’re 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 it’s a Game 7.”

It almost is. Sharks lose, they’re done. Hawks lose and the series is back on.

“We don’t want to give San Jose any life at all,” said Patrick Sharp. “They’re a great team over there and we’ve 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 we’re in and it’s far from over.”

On that, the two teams agree.

“We were in this position last series against Detroit,” said San Jose’s Dan Boyle. “You don’t want to give them a pulse. Their game plan is to go up 3-0 and finish this off. I think that’s a good attitude they need to have. Ours is obviously to get ourselves back into this thing. We’ll get that pulse and we’ll 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 it’s an ingredient that’s 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. “You’re allowed to be passionate at this time of the year. We expect that. We expect you to be frustrated when it’s not going your way. But it’s what you do with that, how you handle it, how you channel it. We as a group, as a team, likely won’t 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 won’t 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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