Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Sharks looking for small improvements

Categories: San Jose Sharks, VAN vs. SJS

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According to their coach, the Sharks need to get better in all three zones. (Rich Lam/Getty Images) According to their coach, the Sharks need to get better in all three zones. (Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Coach Todd McLellan doesn't think his Sharks have to improve their play all that much after a Game 1 loss against Vancouver to come away with a victory Wednesday night in Game 2 of their West final.

"At this time of the year, you always hear us talk, the team that loses says, 'We've got to be better, work harder," McLellan said after Tuesday's practice.

"It's not this much," he said, holding his hands about two feet apart, "it's only that much" -- the distance between his thumb and finger on the same hand.

"We've got to convince the players of that. We're not asking you to be 10 or 15 per cent better, we're asking you to be 1 per cent better," McLellan said.

"Sometimes that's all you need."

What areas need to improve though? Pretty much all of them.

"We have to be better all over the ice," McLellan said. "Mental strength and physical strength. You have to put yourself in a position to be successful, then when you're there, you got to get the job done physically. It starts in the circle, ends up in the corners, net front.   

Fight night

One day before Game 2, there was word of what almost happened before the faceoff of Game 1 on Sunday night:

A fight between Sharks captain Joe Thornton and the Canucks' top scorer, Ryan Kesler.

The battling between the two started before the puck was dropped, with the linesman eventually kicking both players out before the game could begin. Kesler said that Thornton wasn't content to let things die there.

"He was asking me to fight," Kesler said. "I laughed at him."

Thornton later confirmed Kesler's story. So why did Thornton want to fight?

"Why not?", he responded.

Kesler said he wasn't sure what Thornton was trying to accomplish.

"I don't know what he was trying to do there, but I'm not intimidated by him and I'm not going to be," Kesler said. "He's a good player. No one scares me on the ice. I played against Shea Weber and that beard last round. He can play me any way he wants to, but I'm going to play the same game on the ice."

Injury update

Defenceman Jason Demers missed Game 1 with the usual post-season "bumps and bruises," and while he said Monday that he was ready to go, that didn't appear to be the case Tuesday.

Demers was the only San Jose player who skipped a brisk workout at the University of British Columbia's Thunderbird Sports Centre.

McLellan replaced Demers with veteran Kent Huskins on Sunday night, but rookie
Justin Braun would be a second option if Demers isn't ready to play Wednesday night.

Lines appeared unchanged:

Patrick Marleau-Joe Thornton-Devin Setoguchi

Ryane Clowe-Logan Couture-Dany Heatley

Torrey Mitchell-Joe Pavelski-Kyle Wellwood

Ben Eager-Scott Nichol-Jamal Mayers
Douglas Murray-Dan Boyle

Niclas Wallin-Ian White

Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Kent Huskins