The San Jose Sharks can't be satisfied with a split on home ice.
Not against the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Not when a loss in Tuesday's Game 4 at HP Pavilion (10 p.m. ET, TSN) would give the Los Angeles Kings a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven set and — according to the NHL history books — a 90.8% chance of advancing to the next round.
“We know that if we go back to Staples Center up 3-1, there's a good chance we would close out that series,” said Kings defenceman Drew Doughty after Tuesday's morning skate.
The Sharks know it, too.
They made things interesting with Saturday's 2-1 overtime triumph but must still hold serve for a second night at HP Pavilion before the series shifts to southern California.
“You win one game, and you have to move on because you need to win another one,” said Sharks blueliner Brad Stuart. “So it's important for us to forget about last game.”
Added Sharks centre Logan Couture: “We don't want to be down 3-1 going back to L.A. We know this is a huge game. We have to bring our best effort. They're going to be better than they were in Game 3, so we know that we have to better, as well.”
Couture, who scored the overtime winner in Game 3 after missing the majority of the second period for medical attention, insisted he's feeling fine and will be in San Jose's lineup.
The Sharks will once again be without Martin Havlat (lower-body), meaning either Tim Kennedy will be inserted on the fourth line or Jason Demers will dress as a seventh defenceman. Demers, if he suits up, could also take some shifts at forward.
Meanwhile, Kings winger Kyle Clifford is ready to return from an upper-body ailment, although head coach Darryl Sutter refused to reveal his lineup. Clifford will likely replace Tanner Pearson on L.A.'s fourth line.