Sharks Gameday: Problems? We ain't got sh*t.
@ 5:00 PST
13-4-3, 29 points 6-7-4, 16 points 1st in Pacific Division 5th in Central Division
The Sharks can't win in the shootout. They've got injuries. The blue line, at times, looks akin to the Mighty Ducks before Gordon Bombay got his shit together.
Well, count your lucky stars (barf), 'cause the Sharks have nothing on the Blues.
After a surprise run into the NHL playoffs last year, the Blues have fallen on harder times than the aforementioned Emilo Estevez. After being swept by Vancouver in the first round, they've stumbled out of the gate so far this season, and currently sit at 13th in the conference. So, yeah, not off to the best of starts.
It's the primary impulse and god given right of any fan to be critical of their team. But it's match ups like this that make you take things into perspective. The Sharks are pretty damn good, and the inability to win in the shootout should be one of our smallest concerns.
What should be a concern is the Sharks' annoying tendency to play down to their lowest competition. I don't want to see that against the Blues.
Even though the Blues have had their share of trouble, their 85.3% penalty kill rate is good for 4th in the league. That's not going to do the Sharks power play, who failed to score at home in Thursday's game against Dallas, any favors. However, the Sharks boast the second best kill rate in the league (86.5%), while St. Louis is struggling to find it's stride on the power play (15.2%, 25th). It's looking like this game will be won, or lost, even strength.This is a big game for the Sharks (In the first half of a back to back, no less), who are attempting to bounce back from one of their most gut-wrenching losses this season. I was there, and at the risk of sounding cliche, the air left the building as soon as Dallas got the second one past Nabokov. Bad penalty or not, Dallas found a way to tie the game and then grab the extra point. The Sharks have to do that tonight (or, early evening). No more flukey goals against. No more letting a team stay in the game. Shut St. Louis down quickly, and keep them down.
I'm not saying that goal was Demers' fault, far from it. I like Demers. He makes passes that I don't even have the balls to try in NHL 10. But that confidence comes at a price. If he and Huskins can come into Missouri tonight and log effective minutes, I don't think this one will be close.
Oh, yeah, and if they score... that would be great.
Prediction: Sharks win 4-1. Goals by Marleau, McGinn, Setoguchi, and Jumbo.