Five things for Sharks to win

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:23 PM ET

Five things the Sharks must do to close out the series:

1. TAKE THE CROWD OUT OF IT: The Sharks have been outscored 13-5 in the first period of their playoff games this spring. That has to stop Tuesday night if they're going to stand a chance of winning this in Game 6.

Detroit defenceman Brad Stuart said he has never heard the crowd at Joe Louis Arena as loud as it was Friday night in Game 4. The Wings fans are raucous and the Sharks have to find a way to take energy out of the building. Getting the first goal, and more, is key.

2. SCORE ON THE POWER PLAY: The Sharks haven't scored a power-play goal during the past two games. The Wings have made an adjustment and San Jose hasn't reacted well to it. That has to change.

It's no coincidence the Sharks were winning when they had lots of chances with the power play during the first three games of this series. San Jose has to get more pressure down low. This could be a difference.

3. GET TO JIMMY HOWARD: Might be time for the Sharks to bring back the old snow-showers tactics.

They did it in the first two games and were successful in frustrating the Wings and goalie Howard. Nobody liked Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and others spraying Howard with ice chips in the crease when they were battling for loose pucks.

For the most part, the Sharks have stopped doing that and they've lost a bit of an edge. San Jose has to get back to the point of making the Wings frustrated.

4. HELLO PATRICK MARLEAU: It hasn't been an issue until now because everything has been great for the Sharks, but Marleau doesn't have a point in this series.

Marleau had the most ice time of any forward in Game 5 Sunday with 23:18. This isn't trending the right way for him. You need your big players to step up at this time of the year. The Sharks have been forced to come to his defence. They won't be able to much longer if this series isn't closed out. An interesting plot to watch.

5. FORGET WHAT HAS HAPPENED: The Sharks have to put their Game 5 meltdown behind them, and quick.

They were the better team for 40 minutes, they had lots of chances on Howard and just didn't score. They can take a few positives from that game, but they have to clean up their act in their own end.

Goalie Antti Niemi wasn't at his best. He faced only 22 shots and allowed four goals. He can't take all the blame, as the Sharks did get running around in their own zone. Closing this out in Detroit isn't impossible for San Jose.


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