Sharks Gameday: Mess with Texas

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1:00 PST
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33-30-8, 74 points 46-14-10, 102 points
3rd in Pacific Division 1st in Pacific Division
Television
CSN BA
Radio
98.5 KFOX, Sjsharks.com
Antagonists
Defending BIg D

With the Pacific Division clinched (get your self-congratulatory t-shirts now!), and a virtual guarantee of not falling below second place in the Western Conference, the San Jose Sharks' matchup today with the Dallas Stars shouldn't give us the heebie-jeebies, right?

Uhhh... right?

Lemme put it this way - when you, dedicated Sharks fan, find your blood pressure elevated over a game with an eleventh seed, there's something rotten in Denmark.

Sure, the Sharks actually managed to win their last game - in the crapshoot, I mean shootout.  We can bitch about how Rinne stood on his head all night for his Nashville Predators, but let's face the music = we're 4-4-1 in March, and it took that shootout victory to prevent us from falling to 3-4-2.  Had we not fought back to tie the game after the shorthanded giveaway, we'd be 3-5-1.

If that wasn't mediocre enough, try this on for size = the last time San Jose won by more than one goal was on February 21st - against Atlanta.

Since that time, the Sharks have lost a slew of players to injuries.  In fact, that Thrashers game potentially marked the last time this regular season that Teal Town will see Jeremy Roenick, Mike Grier, and Claude Lemieux on home ice.  Oddly enough, the last time all three would see action was the following week in Montreal - and we haven't seen them since.

Immediately after the 2-3 loss to the Habs, the Sharks were walloped by the Stars at the once-impregnable HP Pavilion, by the score of 4 to 1.  We may moan and groan about our injuries, but Dallas was without Brenden Morrow, Sergei Zubov, Brad Richards, and Toby Petersen - indisputably better players than our trio (we're not talking 1990s J.R. or Pepe here, folks). 

The injury bug has continued to bite both teams - the Stars were without posterboy Mike Modano as well as newcomer Steve Begin for their Wednesday loss to Calgary.  The Sharks are still without Tomas Plihal and Ryane Clowe, though Christian Ehrhoff has returned to the lineup. 

Here's a fact for ya = the Sharks have lost all three postseason series they have ever played against the Stars.  Last year's 4-2 series needs no introduction.

Why should the above fact matter?  Consult the standings, kind sir or madam - Dallas could very well be our first round opponent.

Sure I'm being pessimistic... so here's a pleasant fact for ya = the Dallas Stars have not won a game by more than one goal since February 19, save one - against the Sharks.

While you're savoring the half-empty cocktail that I've prepared for you, ponder this question = which Marty Turco will we see today?  The one we beat four times this season, and the one who is 6-8-1 in his last 15 starts, or the one we faced on March 3rd?

Better question = which Evgeni Nabokov will we see?  The one who blanked Anaheim on Sunday, or the one who gave up 3 goals in 9 shots on Tuesday?

Beyond the guarantee that we'll boo the word "star" in the national anthem, there's no telling what today will bring... and yet our future hinges on it. 

Rosy picture, ain't it?

GO SHARKS.

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