If the Vancouver Canucks don't beat the Sharks on Tuesday night in San Jose, they will be eliminated from the NHL playoffs in the first round.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — San Jose coach Todd McLellan sees no need to remind his team of the precariousness of a 3-0 series lead in the playoffs.
The Sharks nearly squandered that advantage the last time they held it, needing the full seven games to eliminate Detroit in the second round two years ago.
With many of the same core players still around, McLellan is content to let experience serve as the teaching tool heading into Game 4 of the first-round Western Conference series against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night at the Shark Tank.
San Jose players insisted nothing had been won yet despite a decisive 5-2 triumph in Game 3 that followed two narrow victories in Vancouver.
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“I was here when we went through that and we let a team back into a series,” Sharks center Logan Couture said. “Obviously, it went seven games. We were fortunate to win it. We let them back in. That’s something we don’t want to do. We want to put them away in Game 4.”
The Canucks, who have lost nine of their last 10 playoff games, accused some San Jose players of embellishment.
Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa singled out Couture and Sharks captain Joe Thornton for exaggerating contact to draw penalties.
“Those are two Canadian guys that are supposed to be playing the game with integrity,” Bieksa said. “Maybe our team has to do more of that. Maybe we have to sell calls.”
The Sharks had eight power plays in Game 3, compared with two for Vancouver.
“That’s always something we talk about, especially when they have a potent power play like they have,” said San Jose’s Patrick Marleau, a former Western Hockey League Seattle Thunderbird.
“At playoff time, you have to try to stay disciplined and not let your emotions get the better of you sometimes after the whistle with pushing and shoving.”
The Canucks’ focus will be on figuring out how to beat the Sharks four straight times after losing the first six meetings between the teams this season, including regular season and playoffs.
“I believe we can win one game,” Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said Monday. “We haven’t beaten the Sharks once this year. I believe we can do it tomorrow.”
At Red Wings 3,
Ducks 2 (OT)
Damien Brunner scored with 4:50 left in overtime, lifting Detroit to a West series-evening victory over Anaheim in Game 4.
Defenseman Jakub Kindl started the winning sequence, passing the puck from behind Detroit’s net to Joakim Andersson. He tried to connect with teammate Gustav Nyquist, only to have Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller poke the puck away. But rookie Brunner was in perfect position in front of the net and swatted in the puck.
During the Red Wings’ run of playing in 22 straight postseasons, they have won 11 of 19 series that were tied at 2-2. Hiller made 46 saves, compared with 31 for Detroit’s Jimmy Howard.
At Rangers 4, Capitals 3
Derek Stepan and Arron Asham each scored tiebreaking goals in the third period for New York against Washington. The Rangers, who finally found their offense, cut the Capitals’ lead in the East first-round series to 2-1.
Stepan closed out scoring with 6:25 remaining when he tipped in a pass in front from Rick Nash.
Bruins 5, at Maple Leafs 2
Boston spoiled the return of playoff hockey to Toronto for the first time since 2004, beating the Maple Leafs to take a 2-1 lead in their East first-round series.
Toronto outshot the Bruins 47-38.
At Kings 4, Blues 3
Anze Kopitar tied the score with 12:46 left, Justin Williams tipped home the go-ahead goal 76 seconds later and defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles beat St. Louis to even their West first-round series at 2-2.
The Kings won a playoff game after trailing by two goals for the first time since 2001.
• The Kings will host Anaheim at baseball’s Dodger Stadium on Jan. 25. The teams and league personnel indicated they have the technology to stage the outdoor game at a warm-weather site.