Brian Cassella MCT The Blackhawks' bench mobs Michael Frolik (front) after he scored on a penalty shot to give Chicago a 4-2 third-period lead.

Sharks to stick with lineup for series finale

Published: Tuesday, May. 28, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3C
Last Modified: Tuesday, May. 28, 2013 - 7:48 am

SAN JOSE – The Sharks do not figure to alter their lineup or want to alter their defensive approach for Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinal series against the Los Angeles Kings tonight at Staples Center.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan said Monday he has options if he wants to make any changes to the lineup, but liked the way the team played in Game 6, particularly on defense, where its breakout plays were considerably more efficient. The Sharks limited the Kings to just 16 shots over the final two periods.

"The adjustments the players made, give them credit for that," McLellan said. "They were much sharper, they executed better, they were hungrier to execute and make plays, and I hope they expect that from each other again."

Defenseman Brad Stuart, a veteran of six Game 7s, said the Sharks would like to keep the same approach they had in Sunday's 2-1 win. Since the Sharks did not waste a lot of energy chasing pucks in their own zone, Stuart said it led to better opportunities at the other end.

"It was just guys working better together and short little simple plays," Stuart said. "We were able to get out quicker, and as a result, were able to go on offense and have a better forecheck as a result."

For Game 6, McLellan inserted Adam Burish onto the fourth line with Andrew Desjardins and Bracken Kearns, and scratched Jason Demers, who played sparingly in Game 5.

Whichever team wins the majority of faceoffs might help determine the outcome of tonight's game.

The Sharks won 31 of 53 faceoffs in Game 6, rebounding from Game 5 in which San Jose lost 37 of 72 draws and the game, 3-0. The team that has won a majority of the faceoffs in this series has won the last four games.

"We didn't do a very good job in Game 5 at all, and it gave them opportunities to play in our end," McLellan said of faceoffs. "In the other games where we've had some success, we've been better in that area."

Four Sharks have taken at least 90 faceoffs so far in the playoffs, with Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture all at above 50 percent. In eight playoff games, Scott Gomez has won 44 of 91 draws.

Jarret Stoll, the Kings' second-best faceoff performer in the regular season next to Anze Kopitar, has missed the last five games because of a concussion and is unlikely to play tonight. His replacement, Trevor Lewis, struggled in that area in Game 6, winning 3 of 14 draws and is only 42 of 102 for the postseason.

Blackhawks 4, Red Wings 3 – The NHL's top-seeded team scored three goals in the first half of the third period to beat host Detroit and tie up their Western Conference semifinal series. Game 7 is Wednesday in Chicago.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Read more articles by Curtis Pashelka



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