Five things the Sharks need to win Game 7
1. QUICK START SHARKS?: The San Jose Sharks haven't gotten off to a good start throughout these playoffs. They might want to find a sense of urgency right now. Their season is on the line. They've got no choice.
The Wings completely outplayed San Jose in the first period of Game 6, outshooting them 18-6. The Sharks need to set the pace if they're going to win this game. Detroit is older, but the Wings sure haven't looked it lately.
2. THE RETURN OF RYANE CLOWE: He is suffering from an upper-body ailment that kept him out of Game 6. Clowe is the club's scoring leader in the playoffs with 4-9-13 points in 11 games. He is their best player.
The Sharks need to have him back in the lineup. The lines were out of sync without him. Logan Couture didn't look comfortable on the wing. If Clowe does play, how effective will he be? He's going to have to gut one out.
3. THE GOALTENDING DUEL: Jimmy Howard and Antti Niemi have been nothing short of spectacular in this series. You could argue Howard has been better at HP Pavilion than he has been at home. He's a rock out there.
The Sharks haven't gotten to Howard since Game 3 and, of course, that's the last victory they had. Niemi has to pick up right where he left off in Game 6 because he's been a force in this series. He deserves more support.
4. THE PRESSURE OF GAME 7: The Sharks played all season to get home-ice advantage for this situation. In the first round, three of the four home teams won the deciding game. Tampa was the only exception over Pittsburgh.
San Jose blew a two goal lead at home in Game 5. That's when the meltdown really started. The Wings don't have any pressure at all. No one expected them to close this gap and tie the series. Sharks are feeling the heat big time.
5. THE COACHING BATTLE: So, who is going to make the change that makes the biggest difference? Mike Babcock has a Stanley Cup ring and Olympic gold medal. He knows what it takes to be a winner. He makes the right moves.
Todd McLellan hasn't been outcoached, but he has been outfoxed by Babcock in the last three games. The changes in the lines haven't really worked. Better find the answers or this season is going to be over pretty quick.