WCQF Game 3: Post-game comments from San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan, Los Angeles Kings head coach Terry Murray

By Jon Swenson - Last updated: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment


Post-game comments by San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan:

I won a Stanley Cup before, so that was a pretty darn good one, but this is a game that you don’t expect to happen and hopefully it won’t repeat itself. It is something that we have to understand we are very fortunate to come back from that deficit. We are excited about it, but we also know that the mulligan we used tonight won’t be available to us again.

Between periods, we went in between the first and second and talked about a few things. One, we wanted to bring a better passion and work ethic to the game than we had in game 2. We thought we still did that, though we were down 3-0 sometimes people don’t believe that, but guys were still buying in. We go down another goal, make the goalie change. You got nothing to do but to play loose. We felt if we could get 1 or 2, they would tighten up a little bit. That’s the way it went.

I spoke to them (between periods). At a very low volume. They are intelligent human beings, they don’t need me to be screaming at them at that point. That probably would have been the last thing they did. That would have been the wrong thing to do. I had to tell them that, one that we believed in them, and two the effort and committment was much higher than when we lost 4-0. Like I said earlier, sometimes that is hard for them to understand when they are down 3-0. They responded the right way.

Now you are drawing for straws (down 4-0). Obviously at that point we made a change for Nemo, and we are really happy for Nitty that he could go in and play as well as he did. He has been waiting a long time for an opportunity. He took advantage of it. I thought our guys seized that moment to play for him. The momentum began to change.

Unfortunately our fourth line was a victim of circumstance somewhat, two shifts -2. I felt that as we started to roll 3 lines we started to get our game back. There was definitley concern towards the end of the night that we were running out of gas. We talked about running a few more guys through. Terry (Murray) had his fourth line out a little bit. We also felt like we were playing a 3 line game, they were playing a 4 defenseman game. We thought we could take advantage of that a little bit.

That happens to a lot of teams. What is the cliche we use, the worst lead in hockey is a 3 goal or 4 goal lead. We had nothing to lose. We could have left here 7-0 and we would still be down 1. We started to play loose. We started to roll lines a little more. We started to make good line changes, get pucks behind them. It started to go in our favor. You could feel it a little on our bench. The more we did it, the more we believed it could happen. It turned out in our favor.

Again, this game was so strange. To get scored on early in the first period right off the bat. It was the worst thing that could have happened to us with the energy in the building. But it happened to them in game 1. Then we gave up a goal in the first minute of the second period. We scored, we give one up right again. We used our mulligan, it is not going to happen again that way. I can’t explain it any better than that.

It was there, I am not sure it was exactly there in the first few games. When you don’t have anyone net front, you can forget about anyone net side for the lack of a better term. Our traffic and our committment level in front of Quick was much better than game 2.

If we refer back to the series this far. We one game 1 in overtime, and the psychological advantage worked their way. We felt comfortable. We don’t play very well when we are comfortable. Lesson learned, or do we have to go through it again. We will find out in game 4.

We haven’t even sat down and talked about that yet (whether Niemi or Nittymaki well get next start). We are confident in both. It is an opportunity for us to have two we are comfortable to play. We will have some decisions in the next day or two.

It certainly helps. It was such a strange game. Everything that happened to them, happened to us in game 2. We spent two and a half minutes stuck on the ice with one of our forwards. We don’t normally do that. We were taken out of our element because they played so well. Tonight the tables turned.

Usually not in game 3 of a playoff series. Certainly there are some exhibition and regular season games played that way. We have actually had a couple of those throughout the year. We had one in Philadelphia where we found a way to come back, and we stuck with it. You could hear guys talk about that, we have done it before lets stick with it.

He made a difference. Ian (white), while some of our guys may be a little nervous and anxious, this is his first opportunity to play in the playoffs. He just wants get out there and play. I think that is a refreshing thing. It rubs off on guys. He made sure he saw me, I don’t know how many times the last day or two to let me know he was ok to play. He certainly made a difference.

Post-game comments by Los Angeles Kings head coach Terry Murray:

That is as bad as it gets in the second period for sure. I am only going to talk about this for a very brief time, you could go in a lot of different ways with this. You can give them credit. They scored a power play goal. They have been a very good team on the power play all game long. I know they have been spending time in their couple of days off here working on it. They executed and got a power play goal in the second period.

Outside of that, we did this to ourselves, with our puck management, whatever you want to call it. Turnovers. Not getting in when you are supposed to get it in deep. Trying to way too much, we get caught out for extended shifts. There are guys that have been out there in the second period, I bet there was 2 and a half minutes where we couldn’t get a line change especially with our defenseman. So you are exhausted, you are rattled, you start doing things that are very uncharacteristic. Now they are playing the game they want. They are in a track meet, that is the game they want after getting down 4-0. We oblige them. All of the problems came our way because of what we were doing.

You can use whatever they want to talk about, but it is about making plays with the puck. It is about composure. If you do the right things with the puck as you get through the middle of the ice, to get it in behind like we were in the first period, then there is no let up in any area. There is no foot off the gas pedal, whatever you want to talk about. You are continuing to play the right way. We stopped playing. We gave them the opportunity. Now they are down 4-0, why wouldn’t you play relaxed. They are rolling 3 lines and coming right at us. They took it to us, big time.

They score in the early part of the second period. Probably 3 minutes after that they score again. There is a power play about 7 minutes later. That is fine. The little things are starting to show. They identified it, they countered. They played extended shifts in our end. They kicked the door wide open.

No I wasn’t thinking about changing goalies. They goals are far apart. The two at the end of the period are the only ones that were close. They scored a power play, we came right back and make it a 5-3 game. We have plenty of tv timeouts to talk about the stuff I am talking about with you right now. The attention was there, but for some reason we refused to do what we were supposed to do.

We bounced back in the third period. We weren’t getting shots through, but we got back to the right attitude of doing what we need to do to play the game the right game. Then you get yourself into overtime. We bounced back from a disaster in the second period to play much better. I already addressed it with the group, at the end of the second and the end of the third, everybody knows what is on my mind.

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