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Sharks believe they can reach 'another level' in Game 3

PITTSBURGH – The San Jose Sharks promised they were going to better in Game 2, but another tight hockey game ended with them being outshot in a loss. 

The Pittsburgh Penguins were victorious thanks to Conor Sheary’s overtime goal and now hold a 2-0 series lead as things shift back to San Jose for Games 3 and 4.

Consider the historical mountain the Sharks now have to climb via these numbers from the NHL:

• Home teams that sweep the first two games of the Cup Final are 33-3 all-time. 

• 44 of the last 49 teams that have gone up 2-0 in the Cup Final have gone on to win the series.

Leading up to Game 3 at SAP Center, we’re going to hear the cliché “we have to take it one game at a time” an incredible amount because that’s how the Sharks now have to view things in order to get back in the series. 

While they’re looking at the series that way, the Sharks will need 60-minute performances in order to beat the Penguins. Outshot 23-11 in the opening two periods, head coach Peter DeBoer adjusted his lines in the third by moving Joel Ward up with Logan Couture and Joonas Donskoi and dropping Patrick Marleau to the third line. Those changes helped lead to Justin Braun’s late tying goal, but the opening 40 minutes saw long periods where San Jose struggled against the Pittsburgh forecheck.

“They were good on the forecheck and their back pressure,” said Sharks captain Joe Pavelski. “We made some soft plays, trying to make that finesse play up the wall and they’ve done a really good job of knocking those down so far, and we’ve turned a few pucks over. That leads to a lot of zone time for them.”

“They swarm. A lot of teams do it in the ‘D’ zone. They put five guys one kind of quadrant in that area,” said Logan Couture. “It’s up to us to break it. The biggest thing is you’ve got to move your feet and get out of there and create space. We haven’t been doing it. We’ve been stagnant and standing around and giving them time to check us, they stick check us and the puck is out of their zone.”

Pavelski added he believes San Jose has yet to play up their talent.  

"I still think we have another level. They're playing at a good pace right now and we can definitely go better," he said.

Despite being down 0-2, the Sharks have been in both games, losing each by only a single goal. They hit a handful of posts in Game 2, which could have changed the complexion of the game. Better execution is needed, but they’re confident the tide will begin to turn once they arrive home, where they’re 7-2 this postseason.

“Game 1 was decided in the last two minutes. Tonight is an overtime game,” said DeBoer. “I think we'll hold off on the funeral. We have a lot of hockey left to play.”

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Sean Leahy is the associate 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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