Sharks Playoff Gameday: Part One
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We could come here and talk about how the the team needs to counter Carlyle's neutral zone neutering of San Jose. We could come and bitch about how Hiller has been a man on a mission and done an extraordinary job, why two potential game-tying shots rang off the post, how Marchant has won nearly 70% of the draws he has taken in the defensive zone. We could question if Marleau is still injured, why Thornton can't take over a playoff game, how a team that had so much promise is down in a 2-0 series hole. We could whine about how the Ducks have taken advantage of their opportunities while the Sharks have not.
To hell with all that. It's time to get a W.
If anyone has given up hope, by all means jump off the bandwagon. If anyone is so certain that this team (which has strung multiple wins together all season) does not stand a chance against the Anaheim Ducks, come back during the "inevitable early offseason." We'll be here. If we expect the Sharks to show the heart that everyone and their mother claims they lack, it's time for us to show some heart ourselves. It's okay to be critical of this team- anyone who has peeked their head around FTF this season knows that. But to throw them under the bus after two losses is ludicrous.
Fact is, they've played well during the last two games. Not well enough to win, which is the ultimate barometer of success at this stage in the season, but well enough to believe that they are very able to claw their way back into this series. They haven't caved. They haven't sat back and let Anaheim push them around physically. They haven't refrained from fighting to the front of the net. They have gotten pucks on Hiller. They have taken the steps that inevitably lead to victory.
I fully expect to see these traits tonight.
All the complaining that has invaded the city of San Jose like a backed up sewer system expelling turds down West Santa Clara Street is as repulsive as it sounds. Save yourself a prison sentence and shoot the puck around in your garage. Drink a fifth, urinate all over yourself, pass out on your neighbor's front lawn while your dignity is still intact. We're all pissed off, but there's no reason to turn on each other. Most importantly, there is sure as hell no reason to turn on our team. Not at this stage of the game.
I received a call from my friend early Monday morning, presumably just before he was preparing to phone suicide watch. It was like that time Matt Damon called Leonardo Dicaprio in The Departed, a moment where no one wants to utter the first word. He finally whispered, "This could be the worst disaster San Jose has ever faced."
"With all due respect sir, I believe this is gonna be our finest hour."
Prediction: Sharks win 4-1. Goals by Marleau, Cheechoo, Ehrhoff, and Boyle. Two come on the powerplay, one comes off the crossbar.