I spent the good part of yesterday trying to convince fellow Sharks fans to stay away from ledges, nooses, or exhaust pipes. As bad as being down 2-0 is, it's not the end of the world
(And as I told Finny from Girl With A Puck, sometimes shit happens and you just have to deal with it.)
I'd be much more concerned if the Sharks looked completely aimless and hopelessly confused but I think everyone's pretty much in agreement that A) while game 1 was far from perfect, they weren't terrible and B) in game 2, they fixed a lot of the problems from game 1.
So now what? Obviously, the power play's a big issue, and Joe Thornton has to at least try to show Boston fans that he's better than Marc Savard. Still, I think the two biggest adjustments that the Sharks have to make are these:
-Shoot from goofy angles: Do you remember how the Sharks got to Miikka Kiprusoff last year? Look at a highlight video of the series and you'll see a number of Shark goals come from sharp angles rather than traditional shooting spots. These types of shots can catch the opposing team off guard, resulting in a weird (and possibly good) bounce, a rebound chance, or even a flukey goal. And if you can produce more scoring chances from different areas, this should open things up to hopefully get more of the traditional shots from the point through.
-Dump and chase with speed: Normally, I hate the dump and chase system but Randy Carlyle's figured out a way to stifle the Sharks' entry. Ok, so what do you do then? Well, the only Shark who can carry the puck through the neutral zone is Dan Boyle and he can't do it all the time. The other times, the Sharks tried to do that, only to bunch up a foot past the blue line and then turning over the puck on an ill-advised drop pass. Bad, bad play.
Try this instead. The guy with the puck approaches the redline. As he gets close, two forecheckers break for the blueline at full speed. The guy with the puck hits a hard cross-ice dump as the forecheckers close in on the blueline. This should allow the forecheckers to pass the blueline on-side with a lot of speed. They go in to recover (spaced appropriately apart so that they can retrieve the puck without getting bunched up) while the third forward stays somewhat high for support.
I suppose if I had an X/O board, it'd be easier to draw out but hopefully you get the idea. The short version is this: Anaheim clogs the neutral zone so you have to have everyone on board to dump and chase at full speed. If the forecheckers pursue at half speed, you're never going to get the damn puck.
Other stuff? Traffic in front is obvious, and I think the Sharks were somewhat successful at that last game, though not totally. Rebound opportunities were kicked aside by Hiller or swept aside by the defense more times than I'd like to see.
And that power play? Well, take my two points above and apply them to both even strength and the power play. And to Christian Ehrhoff, use a god damn 3/4 wind up instead of your full uncontrollable slap shot. Your accuracy goes up a zillion percent when you do that, and maybe those freakin' post shots would have gone in.
Prediction: Pronger doesn't get booed. Rudy Kelly curses at Rob Blake.