By Stu Hackel
The fourth win of a Stanley Cup playoff series is always the hardest to achieve, in no small measure because the team that’s facing elimination often plays as if its collective life depends on the outcome, which — in an athletic sense — it does. Once in a while, you’ll see a team lack the will to fight to the finish. It’s either exhausted or it lacks character (and there’s a huge difference between those two things) and it surrenders to the better club. But more often, it is determined not to go down and that’s happened a lot this spring, Excluding Game Sevens (when either club can be knocked out), trailing teams went 12-6 when facing elimination through the first two rounds. That’s damn impressive and one of the reasons we’re in the midst a great tournament.
The Sharks are in a dire situation tonight as the Canucks, who have had problems closing out both their two previous series, are hoping to advance to the third Stanley Cup Final in franchise history, and first since 1994.