Posted on April 15, 2008 05:31 PM | Permalink
The San Jose Sharks are rearranging the chairs.
Still, their fortunes will come down to how their star players perform.
Those who are on the top line are starting to feel the heat heading into tonight’s critical fourth clash in the best-of-seven series.
San Jose’s top trio of Joe Thornton, Milan Michalek and Jonathan Cheechoo has combined for no goals in the series so far.
Thornton, San Jose’s leading goal scorer and point producer in the regular season, has only three assists and the questions were whether the Flames have done anything special to defend him.
“No, they’re just tight checking,” Thornton said after the morning skate. “They take away your time and space, so you have to make your space. They’re tight on you, they make sure you have no room.
“That’s how you play hockey.”
Curiously, Thornton is coming off a two-assist performance, but knows his play will be closely compared to Jarome Iginla’s.
“When you’re down 2-1, everybody can do more and I have to do more to help this team win,” Thornton said. “I have to have a big game tonight.”
While it appears the Flames won’t make any changes, the Sharks have a couple in mind.
Setoguchi, Ehrhoff get call for Sharks
Head coach Ron Wilson said Devin Setoguchi - the club’s first-round draft choice from 2005 who hails from Taber, Alta., (about a three-hour drive from Calgary) - will make his NHL playoff debut.
Also playing his first playoff game of the spring will be defenceman Christian Ehrhoff, who’d missed the first three games due to an undisclosed injury.
“That will be a huge help on the back end,” Wilson said. “Along with Brian Campbell, he’s our best skater back there and he gets pucks out of danger. He’s our best defensive defenceman, I must add, too. He’s the primary guy killing penalties and we’ve missed that.”
Wilson wouldn’t divulge who would be taken out of the lineup.