SAN JOSE (AP) — The San Jose Sharks are glad to be returning home.
Sharks coach Todd McLellan anticipates a few minor adjustments and no big personnel changes as San Jose looks to rebound from Thursday night’s 3-0 loss at the Los Angeles Kings in their Western Conference semifinal series.
The Sharks, who held a team meeting and optional ice time Friday, return home down 3-2 to the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Game 6 is Sunday night. The home team has won the first five games of the series.
“We’re good at home,” San Jose forward Joe Pavelski said. “We want to take care of business on home ice and then roll the dice in Game 7 because I think we can bring it.”
McLellan called Thursday’s loss the team’s weakest effort yet in the playoffs and was determined to reverse that in time for a chance to force Game 7.
“We have been resilient the last month and a half,” McLellan said. “We’ve brought it when needed. This is another chance for that. The true advantage at home is your fans. They give you extra energy, extra step.”
McLellan said the poor effort has “something to do with Los Angeles and a lot had to do with San Jose,” he said. “We didn’t have our legs. Some days you wake up and know you have it. Other days you can’t walk around the block. It’s just magnified in the playoffs.”
There are a few options available for McLellan. Veteran forward Adam Burish, out since Game 2 against Vancouver, has been practicing and could be available. Defender Jason Demers had his first action of the playoffs Thursday night, though it was a limited appearance as a forward.
Sharks forward Logan Couture credited Kings goalie Jonathan Quick with limiting scoring opportunities.
“He takes a lot of them away from you,” Couture said. “We still had enough chances, but we shot it into him too. When you score zero you’re never going to win and it has happened twice already. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing a little or a lot, you have to find a way to score.”
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Penguins rip Ottawa 6-2, move to conference finals
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins expected desperation.
Instead, the listless Ottawa Senators offered little more than resignation.
Swarming the Senators from the opening faceoff, Pittsburgh roared to a 6-2 victory Friday night in Game 5 of the Eastern conference semifinals to take the best-of-seven series 4-1.
James Neal picked up his first postseason hat trick as the Penguins capped a five-game onslaught against one of the NHL’s best defensive teams to stroll into the conference finals. Pittsburgh scored 22 goals in the series while ending Ottawa’s season for the third time in five years.