“If we do not believe, we should just go home,” Datsyuk said Thursday. “We believe 100 percent.”
Just three NHL teams have pulled off the feat.
“We also have enough respect for our opponent to know that if there’s a team that can do it, it would be Detroit,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “So, that should help us prepare. Our lesson that we were taught last year should help us. We know the storm is coming, we’ve experienced that, but we’d like to be part of that storm.
“We’d like to push back and be ready to play when the puck is dropped.”
The Sharks will have their first chance to advance to the Western Conference finals _ for the third time in the franchise’s two decades _ on Friday night in Detroit.
“You don’t want them to get any momentum,” Thornton said. “We’re taking the mental attitude that it’s a must-win game.”
“I want to separate last year from this year, but I believed we learned a very valuable lesson in Game 4,” he said.
“We did not come back,” Datsyuk said. “Now, we have another chance.”
Detroit’s Mike Modano, who leads all U.S.-born NHL players in goals and points, has been a healthy scratch for all but one game during the playoffs and the center nearing his 41st birthday sounds like he’s leaning toward retirement. He might not get another opportunity to play in the NHL.
“The knee-jerk reaction is to kind of say that’s it and be done with it because the frustration level is fairly high at this point,” he said. “But I’ll let the dust settle and make a decision.”
That is Nicklas Lidstrom’s plan as well. The 41-year-old defenseman, a finalist to win his seventh Norris Trophy, reiterated that he isn’t ready to think or talk about his future.
“I’m going to wait until this season is over and then make a decision on what I want to do,” Lidstrom said.
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