Sharks Gameday: Those chickens? They ain't hatched yet.
@ 4:30 PST
Sharks lead 3-0
Series Preview - Game One
Game Two - Game Three
Usually I'm a stat head, but Plank is going to touch on that stuff later this week. We just work like that. There really hasn't been a better tag team duo since the Road Warriors: Hawk and Animal. Ahead of their time, ahead of their time.
For now, I'm going to focus more on the emotions swirling around this series. Let's break it down.
Surprise: I honestly cannot believe that we are here. After the initial soda spilling, table breaking excitement exhibited after the Marleau OT goal, I descended into a trance-like state. The Sharks, a one seed who crushed the dreams of a city in 2009, had just come back from a two goal third period deficit and pushed the defending Western Conference Champions to the brink of elimination.
I headed into this series expecting a knock down, drag out war. And although the games have been painstakingly close, the Sharks have shown all who doubted them before the series began that they are, in fact, the real deal. Thornton, to everyone's surprise, looks like a star. He, along with the rest of the top line (even with an injury to Heatley) has been producing. On the second line, Joe Pavelski has matured in a way none of us could have logically expected, while Setoguchi and Clowe have played on the brink of dominance. The role players are playing their roles. It's one of the deepest crop of forwards since Alyn McCauley was manning the fourth line. Except this team is way, way better.
What could be considered most surprising, though, is the way the back end has shook out. After pining for a defenseman all season, Plank and I have been pleasantly surprised by the play of both Demers and Huskins. They've made mistakes, but have not been the achilles heel that we expected the to be. In fact, even though Nabokov has played well, his save percentage has been just .899 through the series. Who'd have thought that it would be the defense bailing Nabokov out against Detroit, and not the other way around?
Anticipation: It's been a while since Sharks fans could look ahead to the next series, before the current series was even over. That's not to say that Detroit is dead... like many have said, if any team this year could recover from a 3-0 series deficit, it's these Wings. However, that's only happened twice in NHL history (what, you've never heard that stat before?), and the way the Sharks are playing, it's unlikely that the number jumps to three. But, as the title of this post reminds us, they wouldn't make up sayings for things that didn't happen. One thing is for sure, though: whoever made up all those old adages had an odd fascination with eggs.
But, looking ahead. The Sharks have an opportunity to advance to the Western Conference Finals for only the second time in their history. They get there, the choke label that has haunted the Sharks and Sharks fans will disappear, at least for a season. I think everyone's got another label in mind, though.
Apprehension: Even though the Sharks have this all but locked up, it's not over until the Sharks have another win. I've seen some people say that they'd like to have the Sharks win this series at home, but I'd much rather they just seal this one up tonight. If they don't, the mild apprehension I'm feeling now could quickly evolve into doubt, and then all out fear. This is still the Red Wings team we all feared before the series started. They're still the team that smacked us around twice at home. There's just one thing standing in the way of them coming back in this series...
Confidence: This may just be the best hockey I've ever seen the Sharks play.
Excitement: Go Sharks.
Prediction: Sharks win 4-3, has to be 4-3. Goals by Boyle, Blake, Thornton and Heatley.