3rd in Northwest Division
8th in Western Conference
3rd in Pacific Division
10th in Western Conference
Let us review. The last time the Sharks played the Avalanche, it was in Denver earlier this year... where they turned into guppies in a 6-0 drubbing. Since then, San Jose has been listless while Colorado has turned into snowdrifts. Either that, or they want to finish eighth in the Western Conference so they can play Detroit in the first round. Just a bit of playoff history between those two teams. But I digress.
Something apparently lost to most everyone is that the Sharks are getting the job done in the one area that before the season most everyone was kvetching would be their Achilles heel, namely defense. Second lowest total number of goals allowed in the league and a 2.26 GAA, which by my quick calculations is third best in the league behind the Rangers and St. Louis (yes, St. Louis). Penalty kill is 90.4%, best in the league. I'm thinking it's the lack of offense that's the problem here.
As to tonight, there's little doubt Scott Hannan will receive the Chris Pronger treatment every time he touches the puck, as denizens of the Tank harbor little love for players who leave of their own volition via free agency. Kyle McLaren will be playing with a heavy heart as his grandmother passed away earlier this week. And who knows what line combinations/healthy scratches we'll see tonight.
Lace 'em up, gentlemen. It's time to start playing with some fire.