Game Fifty-Two Wrapup: San Jose Sharks 3, Chicago Blackhawks 2 (SO)

2 3

This was one of those "yeah, they won, BUT..." kind of games.

First, the negative side.  There were lengthy stretches in this game when Chicago thoroughly outworked San Jose.  With the exception of Jonathan Cheechoo and Joe Thornton teaming up for their stock in trade -- Cheechoo dishing out as well as absorbing punishment to plant himself in front of the other team's net while Thornton looked for the lane through which to thread a pass -- there wasn't a whole lot of hustle going on out there by Los Tiburones.

Now, the good.  Aside from the aforementioned Cheechoo-Thornton tandem, two bright spots were the presence of Jody Shelley serving as a calming influence.  Early in the first period when there was a post-whistle scrum (this was after the tussle during the game's first shift when Doulgas Murray dropped the gloves and thoroughly dominated Chicago's Adam Burish), Shelley could be seen yelling from the Sharks bench with an unmistakable message that if anyone from the Blackhawks wished to (ahem) "discuss" matters further he would be more than happy to oblige.  Funny how with the exception of a flare-up in the second period when Jeremy Roenick took umbrage to a cheap shot things quieted down after that.  The other good thing was seeing Evgeni Nabokov play the shootout with the confidence he's exuded in penalty shot situations.  Keep that up, and good things will happen.

It wasn't the greatest of wins, and much work remains to be done.  But at least it was a win.