SAN JOSE -- Ron Wilson is refusing to limit himself to conventional coach-speak.
"I'm not afraid to talk about being down in a series 3-0 and finding a way to win because you guys are all, 'Ooooh, you're not supposed to do that,' " the Sharks coach said after San Jose's 3-2 overtime victory in Game 5. "Well, the last 60 teams acted that way and talked about taking them one at a time -- and they didn't win."
Coaches on those teams probably talked about taking things one period at a time, one shift at a time, too. Anything to break down the enormity of the challenge into bite-size chunks. But Wilson doesn't shy away from the big picture.
"There's no such things as jinxes or any of that baloney," he said Saturday before the Sharks boarded their charter flight to Dallas for tonight's Game 6. "We're motivated to try to be the first team in 33 years to do it."
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That 33-year gap has significance. Only two NHL teams have won a seven-game playoff series after losing the first three games -- the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders -- and those events also occurred 33 years apart.
Wilson did what he could to make the task of coming back to win a series after an 0-3 start less daunting.
"I just explained to them that it's possible to do it, that we've won three or four games in a row so many times this year," he said. "Now we only have to win two games in a row, and if you break the schedule down, we've probably done that 20 times."
Hope, he explained, is the most important thing the team needs -- "not what we read in the paper about how it's impossible or that the odds are against us. I don't think they are."
His players understand the tactic.
"Ron tries to find certain things that raise an eyebrow," veteran forward Jeremy Roenick said. "He's always pushing to find something new and keep our minds sharp. He's really good that way."
Others still take the one-shift-at-a-time approach, but welcome a look at the bigger picture as well.
"It's good to get it out there," said center Joe Pavelski, who scored the Friday winner that pulled the Sharks to within one game of the Stars. "Look, down 3-0 was kind of a problem when you look at history, but Ron's point was don't be afraid of it.
"We can make history if we want."
Right wing Mike Grier sees the big-picture approach as a motivation tool and said Wilson brought it up at a team meeting.
"He started talking about the numbers and the 33-year thing and the couple series where teams have been able to battle back," Grier said. "It just gave the guys a little bit of confidence."
Not that the Sharks aren't aware that even with two victories, they still have their work cut out for them.
"We're still up against it," Grier noted.