San Jose and Chicago meet in a seven games series, that will begin a 3 PM on Sunday, May 16.
San Jose is the beneficiary of a week-long rest as they dispatched of the Detroit Red Wings in the second round. On the other side of the ice, Chicago will come off of four days rest as they enter Game 1.
The Sharks will look to right the ship against the Blackhawks, as they have lost three of the four match ups on the season.
During the four games between the two team this year, Blackhawk goalie Evengeni Nabolav was dominant, including one game in which he tabbed 45 saves. The offense for Chicago shined against San Jose as well, notching seven goals in one of their contests during the 2010 regular season.
“As a player you just throw the good away, you throw the bad away, and you just face the present,” Nabokov remarked. “It’s what’s happening now. That’s what we try to concentrate on as a team. Once the playoffs starts, it’s a different season.”
The Sharks are well aware of their struggles this season against the Blackhawks, including that embarrassing 7-2 loss.
“Simply put, we didn’t play very well against Chicago and we’ll have to play a lot better to win,” remarked San Jose head coach Todd McLellan. “We need quicker starts against Chicago. We always seem to be behind the eight ball. For us to get into a track meet with this team won’t be very productive for us throughout the series.”
As the members of the Blackhawks said though, the playoffs are a different season entirely, and they fully expect San Jose to play well.
“It’s a different time of year,” said Jonathan Toews. “Teams play different. Anything can happen in a seven-game series in the playoffs.”
The key for Chicago in the wins over San Jose, was the fact that they were able to get up on the Sharks early, scoring first in three of the four games.
“They’re a fast team,” Nabokov said. “They’re a good short-handed team. We experienced that ourselves. I’m sure they will continue to do that.”
McLellan is hoping the long wait in between games will not have a rust effect on his team, as it will be a full seven days without taking the ice for a game.
“In our situation, I wish we would be playing tomorrow to tell you the truth, but we’re not,” McLellan remarked. “There’s nothing we can do about it. … There’s a lot of pros to ending the series early. One of the cons is having to wait a little longer. I still wouldn’t have it any other way.”
San Jose possesses 3/2 odds on Online Sportsbooks to win the 2010 Stanley while the Blackhawks sits at 8/5.