The Campbell Trophy, going to the Western Conference representative in the Stanley Cup Finals, was lost by the San Jose Sharks Wednesday night in Vancouver, BC. It only remains to be seen whether the Canucks claim it.
In two games of the series, the Sharks have been outscored in the third period, 6-1. They are not being outscored because they are choking, but because their opponent has more in reserve, The Sharks are struggling to keep up with a younger, faster, and more physical Canucks team.
To make matters worse, the only goal was a meaningless one scored by agitator Ben Eager, followed by a classless taunting of Roberto Luongo—click this link about how destructive Eager's play was in this game.
For the second game of this series, the Sharks were out-shot (38-31) and out-hit (43-35). This time, they also had six fewer takeaways with an equal number of giveaways. Even with two more blocked shots to their credit, it amounted to a slightly lower percentage of those attempted (18.75 vs. 20).
It is hard to see what changes the team could make to turn the tide in a series so dramatically as to give them four wins in five games. But it is also reasonable to expect some change to be sufficient for them to win at least one at home, and to expect the Canucks—known to struggle in finishing off teams (2-4 so far this playoffs)—to give the Sharks an opening for another win.
In other words, it is unlikely the Sharks will go any farther than their deepest point in franchise history—Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.