Sharks Gameday: If Ya Can't Beat Em, Beat Em
|21-8-7, 49 points||23-8-3, 49 points |
|2nd in Western Conference ||1st in Western Conference |
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[Editor's Note]: Second City Hockey asked us to do a Q&A for their publication The Committed Indian-- TCY has it covered.
Holy Macanaugh were the boys lucky to walk out of Dallas last night with two points. Evgeni Nabokov was spectacular in just about every way, and you can damn well go all in on the fact that he was working some crazy voodoo magic the moment he stepped off the plane-- Richard Hantz was his name, and the red pipes were playing his game. Those first forty minutes were all about sustained pressure in the defensive end of the ice, with the Sharks generating very little in the form of quality scoring chances. San Jose had a good deal of trouble stringing together two quality shifts in a row, and if Nabokov or his post pawns don't play ball you're looking at a deficit ranging anywhere from one to four heading into the final frame.
On a side note, Tom Wandell has the gnarliest set of wheels I've seen in a long time. Between him, Jamie Benn, and James Neal, the Stars look like they have the pieces in place to be a dark horse later in the year provided those guys continue their progression.
So what worked? The unexpected. And boy did I love every single minute of it. Clowe's work on the forecheck produced a fortuitous bounce right onto his stick behind Marty Turco, and he cleaned it up with a slick backhander across the slot to find a wide open Joe Pavelski. Thornton dumps the puck into the zone only to find it drop at his feet after Grossman can't handle his business, leading to, you guessed it, a slick backhander across the circles to find a wide open Patrick Marleau.
Then there's this gem, which deserves a place amongst the top five Sharks goals of the year:
Congrats on the first NHL goal, kid
On the docket we've got the Chicago Blackhawks-- no superlatives necessary to convey the importance of putting a strong effort out tonight. Chicago's definitely the class of the Western Conference at this point of the year, and while I'm a firm believer in the idea that standings points are much more valuable than seeing how you match up before the Olympic break, a 7-2 lashing on home ice means you shouldn't need sildenafil citrate to get up for this one.
Go out, get it done. And contrary to my consistent view on the subject, don't play Greiss in this back to back. Roll with your big dog.
Prediction: Sharks win 4-3. Goals by Heatley (x2), Boyle, and McGinn. Cristobal Huet turns to crystal, and floats huet.*
*Hey, I tried.