Tough choices and tasks awaiting Sharks in Chicago
I don't think this is revelatory, but the San Jose Sharks are in deep trouble. The Chicago Blackhawks just walked into the Shark Tank and are now taking a 2-0 series lead back to the Windy City. The deficit is one thing, but the manner in which the Blackhawks were able to dictate the style and pace of play is just as troublesome for Sharks head coach
In Chicago, Quenneville won't have to chase the matchups nearly as much because he will be the home coach with the last line change. That means his rotations should run even smoother. It's a situation that playoff hockey is all about: adjustments. The burden is now on McLellan to decide to mix up his lines to present a different look -- and hopefully a better result -- or have his high-priced top line slug it out and find a way to prevail. Either way, it is a tough predicament to deal with when you're heading out on the road down 2-0. Plus, there are other considerations for the Sharks to contend with.
So far, the Blackhawks have owned the middle of the ice. Other than Ladd's long-range wrister -- the type of shot that Sharks' goaltender
Offensively, the same is true. The Sharks have to find a way to penetrate the middle of the ice. They aren't getting nearly enough forechecking pressure on the 'Hawks defense due in large part to the mobility of its rearguards. Led by
Yes, the Sharks can come back on the Blackhawks, who have picked up only three of their 10 playoff wins on home ice. But they must first stem the Blackhawks' dictating matchups, better goaltending, more balanced scoring -- all three of their top lines scored at even strength in Game 2 -- and controlling the middle of the ice. With all of that to deal with, the Sharks and their coaching staff surely can use the extra day between games as the scene shifts to Chicago.
For the Sharks' sake, hopefully that won't be the only shift that occurs or this series will be over fast.