Sharks Gameday: Attack of the Comeback
@ 6:30 PST
Series tied 1-1
Series Preview - Game One - Game Two
As much as the Sharks fans expected that to happen, it didn't. Instead, the San Jose actually showed some of that red bloody thing that we've assumed they'd been missing for years. Five comebacks in one playoff game to win in overtime? Unheard of.
It might have happened before, but I can't seem to find any evidence of that exact sequence of events ever having in the regular season, let alone in the playoffs. According to Whowins.com, only 13 of 819 teams since 1939 have come back to win a game after going down a goal with 33 seconds or less left in the game. If you want to take anything superficial from this tilt, take solace in the fact that the Sharks never quit in a game where a crushing, demoralizing defeat looked to be the only possible outcome.
I think this is exactly what the Sharks needed; it was an effort by the team that was not only motivating, but unexpected. Yes, there were issues; Nabokov had a terrible game, Murray was almost directly responsible for two of the goals, and the big three still hasn't contributed a goal.
However, the Sharks really did play a good game, save for the five Avalanche goals. The trap was no longer as effective, and the match really could have been worse for Colorado: Nabokov should have had the last two goals, and the goaltender interference call on Setoguchi was close to criminal (at least in my humble opinion). Add in a few hit posts, and that one could have been pretty ugly. The neutral zone trap employed by Joe Sacco was deftly solved by Todd McLellan and broken by the drive of his players. What will the young Sacco do to stop the Sharks now? We'll find out tomorrow, but I'm guessing that the game will be a bit more open in Colorado. The Av's won't be near as conservative.
The Sharks should have little trouble getting up Sunday; they fought their way back admirably in the game and the series. They join every other team (sans Chicago and Nashville, who haven't played their second game yet) looking at a series tied 1-1.
There is also some pretty significant buzz surrounding tomorrow's showdown. Rob Blake's hit on T.J. Galiardi is being analyzed by pretty much anyone following the series... views on the correct repercussions for the hit are about as far apart as Ke$ha is from a Nobel Prize in astrophysics. In my opinion, the hit wasn't suspension worthy... but switch my Logan Couture jersey for a Matt Duchene sweater and my view might change a little.
I think the Sharks roll tonight, and the big three gets in on the goal scoring act. Demers, who has flown under the radar and played very well, should continue to have a sharp series. He'll get noticed eventually.
Prediction: Sharks win 4-2. Goals by Heatley, Thornton, Marleau and Vlasic. Every Sharks goal is scored on a weird tip or bounce. Someone tries to run Blake early.