Working in Downtown San Jose, I'm subject to a lot of casual Sharks fans.
You know the kind. The people who think Tim Kawakami and Mark Purdy write about the Sharks all year long. The people who are quick to jump on the bandwagon, but even quicker to leap off. The people who throw around words like heartless, gutless, and chokers.
Makes me sick.
It's tough being around those people, because they're the people who jumped off the train when Dan Boyle chipped one past Nabokov, only to climb back on as the team beat Colorado in six and then Detroit in five.
In my opinion, that's why it's tough to be a Sharks fan. Because everywhere you look, there's someone turning their back to the team, writing them off after a two game losing streak against one of the best teams in the league.
Hell, I'm as disappointed as the next guy (or girl). Falling down 2-0 in the series at home isn't the way I wanted this to happen, but it's the reality we're faced with. But instead of joining the pack of calloused Sharks fans, I find myself in the minority: one which believes that the Sharks can recover from a two game deficit to rally and defeat the Blackhawks. Call it faith.
My prophet? Dan Boyle. A man who many believed should have been captain showed once again that he is the heart and soul of this team, leading a closed door meeting after a game two loss and throwing some pretty heavy quotes at the media this week. For everyone who claims that this team "doesn't care" or "doesn't have the heart", look no further than number 22.
Now, words aren't going to win any games, and I think the Sharks understand that. There are a laundry list of things that went wrong in game two: stupid penalties, shoddy defense, sub par goaltending, lack of physicality, facing a hot goaltender and little to no flow in the offensive zone. Those are all problems, though, that the Sharks have been able to overcome during the season and the playoffs. And looking at how well they played in game one, there is no reason that the Sharks can't right their game and steal two in Chicago.
That's where it starts, though. If the Sharks drop game three, there is little to no chance of coming back (unless you expect another Philadelphia type miracle).
I think the Sharks know that. But even if they don't win game three, I won't count them out until all opportunities have expired. Maybe that puts me in the minority, but I really don't care. I just spent the majority of the night getting sloshed with my grandma.
Prediction: Sharks win 5-2. Goals by Boyle (x2) and one each from the HTML.