Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Sharks leave bad taste after rout

Categories: San Jose Sharks, VAN vs. SJS, Vancouver Canucks

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In Game 2, San Jose reinforced every crummy stereotype they worked so hard to combat. (Harry How/Getty Images) In Game 2, San Jose reinforced every crummy stereotype they worked so hard to combat. (Harry How/Getty Images)
Ben Eager's night on the big stage was more bad than good, even down to calling Kevin Bieksa "a phony . . . I can't believe they pay a guy like that so much money."

But based on the returns to date, Bieksa is far more valuable to the Canucks than almost any Shark, Eager or otherwise. San Jose left a bad taste in everyone's mouths after a 7-3 loss in Game 2 that reinforced every crummy stereotype they worked so hard to combat.

They blew an early 1-0 lead, which doesn't really count. They got run over, around and through in the second and third periods, again. They lost at the highest stage they've ever reached, again.

And they're staring at another four-game sweep in the Western Conference final -- unless they're keeping some of that skill and competition level they haven't tapped to themselves.

In their last eight conference final games, in which they are 0-8, they have been outscored 29-13. They have allowed 19 third-period goals in these playoffs. They have scored the first goal in a game six times and lost.

They have failed in an inverted pyramid, and there is little to suggest that they can become the first team in 20 years to fall behind 2-0 in a conference final and win.

In short, Mario Lemieux is not walking through that door.

"We had some guys that really showed up and committed themselves to the team," head coach Todd McLellan said.  "Then we had some guys that weren't sure.

"We've got to regroup. We've got to find some composure, take our battle level up. With that being said, as I mentioned, there's a few people in our group, and I'm not going to hide them anymore, they have to ask themselves whether or not they want to keep on competing."

Eager competed, albeit poorly, with a goal, four penalties (one of which led to Vancouver's game-sealing fourth goal). Others, including most of the bigger names on the roster, did not come close, which is what irritated McLellan far more than Eager's hyperactive rodeo bull act.

As a result, San Jose is now up against every wall in the slaughterhouse. They have never won a conference final game at home (they are 2-10 overall, 0-5 in San Jose), surrounded by their doubts and those of their supporters. This job just got a whole lot worse for all involved.

And Kevin Bieksa sleeps happily.


Patrick Marleau -Joe Thornton-Devin Setoguchi
Ryane Clowe-Logan Couture-Dany Heatley
Torrey Mitchell-Joe Pavelski-Kyle Wellwood
Ben Eager-Scott Nichol-Benn Ferriero

Douglas Murray-Dan Boyle
Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Niclas Wallin
Kent Huskins-Ian White

Antti Niemi
Antero Niittymaki