Sharks vs. Kings NHL Playoffs Preview: Unrealistic To Expect Sweep

Well, it's not necessarily true that one should be feeling great and totally confident after a 4-0 loss to a team that was supposed to be defensively strong and not much else, but it's worth noting that a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Kings was never a realistic goal for the San Jose Sharks. Other teams will look at it that way, when they consider just how good the Sharks are and how much of a threat they can be to teams like the Vancouver Canucks and Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference. How are they still a threat after losing 4-0 in what was, quite frankly, an embarrassing outing? 

The Kings play a style that is tailor-made the drag extra games out of a series with the Sharks. It was never meant to be a sweep, though it would have been nice. There isn't room to make excuses, though - the Sharks got beat - but there's no shame in winning a series in five, six or seven games, and that's what the Sharks have their eyes set on. Following game two, head coach Todd McLellan expressed his desire for the team to be be a little angry at what went down. After watching film on the matter, it was confirmed all around: they know they didn't play well at all, they know that there wasn't more than one or two good things to take from the game two, and knowing this team, they know what they need to do to adjust.

Everything seemed just a little bit off in game two, with some fine-tuning, they should be good to go for game three. They need to recapture the aggressiveness of the first period of game one, without the inconsistency of the second period of the same game. They need a balanced, aggressive attack, and they need to work together as a team. Joe Pavelski made statements about players trying to get things done on their own in the postgame, and it's something to definitely consider. In game one, when Logan Couture broke away for the shorthanded goal that eventually missed, wrapped around and gave Los Angeles a 3-on-1, that's something that can be prevented.

A smart, calculated, aggressive and team-oriented attack is what the Sharks need. They have to come out, get ahead, and then isolate players like Justin Williams and Drew Doughty. They need to get to Jonathan Quick as fast as they can, and not allow him to lock up and became a wall, challenged for every puck. One key thing they need to do is just not be so tentative, which ties in with the aggressiveness. They really did control the puck well and keep it away from the rather greedy Los Angeles forwards, but they just sat there with it and didn't turn it into shots-on-goal.

Either way, we're in for a good one, folks. Play resumes tonight at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles at 7:30 p.m. pacific. We'll have live tweeting, live updates and a recap for the game, which will be shown on CSN California.

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