Sharks Playoff Gameday: The Waiting Game
Series Tied 0-0
| || |
The first day of the playoffs is always the longest day of the year. It's a brutal ride through emotional swings that takes you from elated to nervous to a trainwreck and all the way back to elated again throughout the course of an hour. There's nothing like those butterflies, and while you know they'll eventually pay off at 7:00 PM tonight, the wait is an absolute drain.
It's a long and winding road that lies ahead today. Best of luck getting through it.
In terms of breaking down the series, nothing else needs to be said that hasn't been said already. The Kings will rely upon their strong team defense and excellent goaltending to keep the score low and within striking distance, while the Sharks will rely on their ample forward depth to consistently roll out three lines that can generate scoring chances. Expect tonight's game, as well as the rest of the series, to be a tight-checking affair that is played along the boards-- both teams excel at controlling the puck along the perimeter, and battles for loose pucks will be fought over with ferocity.
The key for the Sharks tonight? Getting the first goal, preferably ten minutes into the first period. If Los Angeles strikes first that defensive shell will go up quickly, playing to the Kings strengths and allowing them to dictate the pace by slowing San Jose down in the neutral zone. If San Jose scores first, and manages to take a lead into the third period, the Kings will have to open their game up and begin to stray from their gameplan. That spells success for San Jose.
Ryane Clowe will play in game one, and the Kings' Justin Williams will as well. Williams will be dealing with a bum shoulder which, in a series as physical as this one is expected to be, can be a burden-- it will be interesting to see how he holds up over the course of the night, and ultimately, the series.
Here's a few links to our coverage over the last three days:
- Audiophiles rejoice-- our podcast can be found here, and an interview on Sirius Radio can be found here.
- Plank breaks down the Kings stellar blueline, while TCY breaks down the equally imposing LA goaltenders.
- Ivan takes a look at what other pundits are saying about the upcoming series.
- Our series predictions will drop later today./
Prediction: Sharks win 3-1. Goals by Heatley, Pavelski, and Marleau. Quick stands on his head for the first period, but a pair of goals by San Jose in the second prove to be too much for the Kings offense to overcome.