[Open Thread] Game Three, Western Conference SF: San Jose Sharks at Dallas Stars
(Stars lead 2-0)
It's not do or die, but it is closely related.
Given how the Sharks have played better against Dallas in Dallas this year than at home, it's not unreasonable to expect San Jose to come out flying. Which they'd better. The only way to break the trap is by blowing past it. Or a few well-placed elbows, which given the Sharks inconsistent level of physical play thus far in the series would be a change of pace.
Dallas is too good of a team to be given anything -- like the puck, repeatedly (*coughbriancampbellcough*) -- so the mistakes that have plagued San Jose in the first two games have to be sharply curtailed. The "oh, we had a chance to score there but didn't because so-and-so didn't bother to work their way into position to grab a rebound or variations thereof" shtick has got to come to a screeching halt. The physical play has to both increase and become consistent; you can't check someone once and go off on your merry way assuming that's good enough for the entire game. Basically, the Stars aren't going to beat themselves. They can be beaten, but only by playing better. Thus far in this series, the Sharks haven't come close to this. Tonight, they'd better. It's that simple.
Okay, let's drop the puck.
P.S. A profound thanks to whoever in the NHL wrote a schedule that has a playoff game starting when most of us are still at work... noreallyImeanthat... (grumble grumble grumble)