SAN JOSE — It’s been four games of the Stanley Cup Final now, and the Sharks have yet to hold a lead in regulation. Their only win came in overtime of Game 3, and they had to fight back to tie that one late.
“Yeah, it’s tough,” said veteran defenseman Paul Martin after Monday’s 3-1 loss at SAP Center. “We haven’t been able to get out and get a lead and we’re a different team when we do that. It’s been tough for us. We’ve got to find ways to produce when they get the first goal.”
Or, just score first. That’s an even better idea.
“I think when you have the lead, you can play differently,” said coach Pete DeBoer. “You feel a lot more comfortable getting in a four-line rhythm, putting your guys out there, trusting them. There’s not that pressure that we have to create a scoring chance or score a goal.”
Deboer added, “We’ve got to find an answer for that. I don’t know what it is.”
After losing the first two games on the road, the Sharks never did convert their crowd’s energy into the kind of starts they’d hoped to get when the series shifted to San Jose. They definitely didn’t make “like gorillas coming out of a cage,” as the saying went that one time.
And it won’t get any easier in Pittsburgh, where Game 5 goes Thursday. Lose that one and it’s over.
“You have to stay positive,” said Martin. “We have a lot of good leadership in this room, a lot of character guys who have been through a lot. We really believe in the group we have here and that everyone’s capable of chipping in.”