After losing the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the San Jose Sharks head home to SAP Center for a critical Game 3 on Saturday.
As opposed to the regular season when the Sharks struggled on home ice, they have been 7-2 in the postseason.
“We’re not going to quit,” Sharks goaltender Martin Jones said after Game 2. “We’re going to go home and we’re going to play hard.”
The Sharks defense faltered in Pittsburgh, illustrated by a Roman Polak turnover followed by a bad defensive read that ultimately led to the Penguins’ first goal in Game 2. If the Sharks don’t elevate their play to better control the puck and apply pressure in the next two games at home, four games is all they’ll see in their first-ever trip to the title round.
The Penguins have outshot the Sharks, 71-48 in the series. But San Jose has managed to limit Pittsburgh’s time and space on the ice.
“Our overall game was a little bit better, still not where it needs to be, but a little bit better,” head coach Peter DeBoer said in a conference call on Thursday. Adding that he expects Game 3 to go better than Games 1 and 2.
DeBoer said a few of the lineup combinations he saw in the third period on Wednesday had the potential to be “dangerous.”
Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns are the top three point-scorers of the playoffs, but Couture is the only one to earn a point through two games in the series. They’ll have to deliver if the Sharks are to recover.
Only five teams in Stanley Cup history have been able to dig themselves out of a 2-0 hole to eventually take home the trophy.
“[The playoffs are] very meaningful to the people here,” DeBoer said. “… Obviously we’re not coming home under the best circumstances, but we’re going to be a tough team to beat at home, I think.”