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Sharks 'don't care' about St. Louis Blues' adjustments

ST. LOUIS – The San Jose Sharks haven’t done any extra work to deal with all the adjustments the St. Louis Blues made for Game 4 of the Western Conference Final in advance of their Game 5 matchup.

Even though coach Ken Hitchcock put his lines in a blender, changed his goaltender and shifted his forechecking strategy to earn a 6-3 win and knot the series at 2-2, San Jose maintained they’re simply focused on their game and what they can correct with themselves.

“It’s a funny thing about the game and it’s a funny thing about a seven-game series. So many story lines. Going into Game 4, can the Blues do anything? Now, 60 minutes later, can the Sharks do anything right?” San Jose defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic said. “But it’s 2-2 in the series. It’s incredible. You have ups and downs within a series like you do in the season. You can see that here. But both teams will be desperate tonight wanting that third one.”

As captain Joe Pavelski pointed out, hockey is more than just schemes and strategies. Sometimes it comes out to the simplest of situations in a game.

“I assume that’s what we’d be like too if we changed some lines,” he said. “There’s so much structure to a team, and then you have to play. It’s just one on one battles.”

There are some coaches who have consistent lineups and roll the same groups and make small tweaks. The belief is that you can’t make any wholesale differences in the middle of a playoff because so much structure is already ingrained in players. Then there’s Hitchcock who’s known for pushing multiple buttons in order to try to find the right combination. 

Both styles are successful in their own different ways, but Hitchcock has seemed to pick up most of the praise this series for how he’s coached his team back into it.

This has seemed to irk Sharks coach Peter DeBoer who has tired of questions revolving around Hitchcock and what the Blues have done differently.

“We spend most of our time on our game,” DeBoer said when asked about the Blues' adjustments and how his team can counter them. “If our game's in a good spot, I don't care what they do.”

The Sharks saw everything they did wrong in Game 4, where they were outscored 6-3, as correctable. Dealing with St. Louis’ changes isn’t rocket science. It’s just part of the give and take in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“I think a lot of it is if we make better decisions coming out of our end and have that support,” Sharks defenseman Paul Martin said. “We didn’t have that compared to the other games. A little more better communication in our own end and have that center low and good support, and a good support. We had a couple of bad changes on one of the goals. I think a lot of it is the decisions we make and the choices we make should be better.”

During the second half of the regular season and in these playoffs the Sharks have proved a strong ability to shake off a bad game and not let them fester for multiple days.

Since Jan. 1 San Jose has lost three games in a row just once. In their 16 playoff games they’ve lost two in a row once. 

“I don’t think to a man anyone can sit in this room and think they played well in Game 4,” forward Logan Couture said. “So it’s opportunity for us individually and as a team to go out and redeem ourselves and play the way we expect ourselves to.”

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

 

 

 

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