I gave myself a day to really let the game 3 win soak in so i could truly grasp what was going on. Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Lidstrom, and the rest of the Wings are one loss away from losing in the playoffs after 2 straight trips to the Stanley Cup Finals against the Penguins. It seems as though we will see the Penguins right back where they were last year, but after yesterday, the prospect of a third Wings Pens Finals seems bleak at best.
This Wings team is the same one that we failed to win a single game against in regulation during the regular season, but we all can see now exactly how much the regular season means when teams get to the post season. Jumbo Joe skating around playing the force that he is. Heatley slowly picking his spots and Marleau finally starting to skate at full speed as was evident on the game winning goal yesterday. That line might not have the point production that the media wants, but they have the puck possession game and the close chances that get the sharks going in the right direction. The Pavs line has been borderline dominant in the playoffs, and i only say borderline because i feel like Sidney Crosby has taken the definition of dominant to a new level this year. Malhotra had what seamed to be like a thousand chances to score and Nichol provided very productive time even though he played sparingly.
The Wings team is starting to look a bit fatigued, and that can be due to many different scenarios. Everyone knows that hockey is a sport where injuries are never discussed till the off season or even after, but they had a tough series against Phoenix and a quick turnaround. The only player from the red wings who came to play yesterday was Zetterberg. He made the sharks look slow and not strong enough. On some plays it seamed as though he single handedly was going to score against 5 sharks, but Nabby was always there.
I do feel a little bit of pain for the wings fan, but all their crying and moaning that nothing was going their way has really mad me lose all sympathy for them. On the other hand, it is about time that sharks fans have not had to lock their doors at this time of the year and sulk for the better part of May. It is about time that we get a chance to look at other fans and feel some of their pain, and then take pride in our team that they are able to move on.
So this all comes down to tomorrow's game. Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals, a round that really has written the history of the sharks. No, i am not saying that a sweep will happen and all of San Jose will concurrently become the happiest town in America, but tomorrow is the biggest test of the Sharks short existence. Tomorrow, we finally find out if this team has found its killer instinct that cost this team playoff runs against Edmonton and the Wings a couple years ago. Tomorrow is all about hanging around with the most desperate hockey team in the world, one that is down 3-0 in the series, and not giving them any satisfaction of an easy game. If the sharks show up with the killer instinct that they had against Colorado, this could be the last game of the series.
As a fan, one should expect a solid hockey game tomorrow for the Sharks. Whether we win or not, if we play a solid game either way, then we are guaranteed a series victory over the Wings and a trip to uncharted territory. It is about time that I could say it, but i will not, as there is no point in going against the hockey gods.
Tomorrow. Sharks vs. Red Wings. Show Up and Move on. Don't and history will be made the wrong way. One game. One night. Nothing is more important for the Sharks right now. Forget everything. This is it Gentlemen. We are almost there.