Sharks Gameday: Oh... Canada.



11:00 AM PST

12-8-4, 28 points

16-8-2, 34 points

10th in Western Conference
3rd in Eastern Conference
98.5 KFOX,
Habs Eyes on The Prize

In one of the most hyped games of the year, Dany Heatley (he of the trade drama and subsequent backlash) returned to Ottawa where he has been vilified since the offseason debacle. Heatley, who played one of his strongest games of the year, led the Sharks to a resounding 4-0 victory over the Senators.

Although Heatley didn't show up in the goal column, he had an assist and drew penalties that led to both of the Sharks' power play tallies. The attitude around the game was electric, and the Sharks responded, rallying around their teammate.

Logan Couture scored twice, Justin Braun had his fourth point in four NHL games and Antti Niemi had his best game in teal as he completed a 28 save shutout. Dan Boyle, an Ottawa native, also added his 100th point as a Shark in his 700th career game in the NHL... not bad for an undrafted player.

Let's hope the Sharks have a little bit of fire left from the scene in Ottawa yesterday. Although they are celebrating another homecoming affair (Marc Edouard Vlasic and Torrey Michell are from Montreal), I'm assuming that won't motivate many the way the game in Ottawa did.

The Sharks have been such an up and down team this year, as their 12-8-4 record suggests. After a resounding win against Chicago, they came out and laid an egg against Detroit. Last night, though, they looked like a team who should be tops in the conference, instead of fluctuating between the six and twelve seed.

Injuries to the defense are going to be a factor in their success, as the team will probably start the Worcester 3 again tonight. (Side note, Plank and I will likely be moving to Worcester and starting a band under that name. Currently looking for the third member, resemblance to Derek Joslin is preferred.) To me, it's been an issue of zones with each player. Joslin has looked the best defensively, but hasn't looked as comfortable on offense as I'd like. It's the opposite with Justin Braun, who has looked great in the offensive zone, has so far has been a bit of a defensive liability. If he keeps getting his shots to net, though, I don't have a problem. Moore hasn't been great anywhere in my opinion, but he's strong with the stick and he's the best we've got going forward. (Or backward, get it?)

If the power play keeps clicking as it has lately, and Niemi builds upon his dominant outing, the Sharks should be able to hang in the close Western Conference race. Hey, they're only three points out of second, right?

There is a fear, though, that things won't click, and the inconsistency will continue. In that case, there will be some questions to answer when the team gets back to San Jose, as Plank has mentioned. This road trip is a meaningful one, for that reason alone. The Sharks don't get to play the Senators every night... Montreal is a strong team and a worthy opponent, something the Sharks haven't handled well as of late. Add in that Carey Price is playing out of his mind, and you have a game which is going to be a tough one.

Prediction: Sharks win 4-2. Goals by Couture, Heatley, Thornton and Joslin.

Go Sharks.