Sharks Gameday: And So It Begins
Series tied 0-0
CSN-CA, TSN, Versus
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Game ones are always the most difficult article to write (and read) throughout the course of a series primarily because at this point you've soaked in all the information you can get your hands on when it comes to the two teams. Star players, goaltenders, role players, nothing will be a surprise at 7:06 PM tonight.
Once that puck drops at 7:07 however, things change and those surprises begin to happen The storylines and plot lines from earlier this week disappear. In their place come new performances, manic and tragic, blissful and blessed, all breathing new life into the neverending stories of heroes and goats.
Take a player like Antti Niemi for example-- a very underwhelming series against Los Angeles, quite possibly the worst in his career in terms of save percentage. And yet at 7:07 tonight comes an opportunity for redemption. The postseason is the perfect example of "it's not what you've done, it's what you've done for me lately" in action, and tonight, he can singlehandedly change not just how we view his series against Los Angeles ("on second thought he was better than I thought he was"), but also how we view him as a goaltender ("the guy just comes up big at the right time"). And of course there's the other side of that coin, where a single mistake can change the entire conversation about a team or player or coach in the blink of an eye.
It's completely unfair no matter which way it goes, and I think the majority of pundits and fans and analysts across the League recognize that. But them's the breaks, and frankly, them's the nature of the beast. As a rule playoff hockey isn't fair-- bounces, minor errors, hell, mere inches change the course of history. It's what makes it so appealing and what makes a series like this all the more intriguing. There will probably be at least one bounce or break that wins a game for the Sharks or Wings; and on some level, that single bounce or break just may win them the series.
When you talk about razor-thin margins you talk about these guys. With that in mind, here's what we've been saying leading up to today (pretty sure that transition doesn't even make sense):
- Initial thoughts about the series [link]
- Breakdown of the two teams basic statistics (PP, PK, EV etc.) [link]
- A look at just how ridiculously successful these organizations have been over the last 7 seasons [link]
- Series schedule and ruminations on other playoff series taking place [link]
- The pairing of Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Jason Demers will be a big key vs. Detroit [link]
- Analysis of how Tomas Holmstrom manages to disrupt opposing goaltenders [link]
- Jimmy Howard has had his fair share of struggles against the Sharks during his career [link]
- Finally, we will have a podcast series predictions dropping later today. So stick around, hang out, and make yourself at home. It's going to be a long wait.
Prediction: Sharks win 4-3. Goals by Pavelski, Heatley, Boyle, and Thornton.