Sharks Serve Up An Opening Night Special: Fricasseed Duck
Generally, the Sharks and opening night go together like disco and music. Just because words are often found in the neighborhood doesn't mean they form a harmonious convergence. Last night was a terrific exception.
After a tentative first period by both teams, San Jose put on such a dominating display in the second one would have thought new coach Todd McLellan brought more than only a Detroit-like system with him but for good measure last year's Red Wings decked out in teal. His philosophy of the defense aggressively pushing play not just into but in the other team's zone worked to near perfection, the puck almost never leaving Anaheim's end of the rink. What's more, the days of hot potato passing wine and afraid if you shoot you'll get stuck by the thorns of roses were mercifully absent. Instead, it was SAC time, in this case not Strategic Air Command but rather Shoot And Crash (the net). Perfect for Jonathan Cheechoo's game, as his two goals attest. The third was more even, but even then the Sharks kept the Ducks at bay in terms of scoring chances. Or would that be at pond.
One surprising aspect of the game was how un-chippy it was. There were plenty of hard checks being thrown by both teams, but almost no hugging without loving after the whistle had blown. However, before the next five games between the two teams this season have run their course there is little doubt feathers and fins will fly.
Yes, it was only one game, blah blah blah. Still, it was sweet.
Next up are the Kings tomorrow night at San Jose in the first of a home and home.
Player note: Devin Setoguchi, should he continue to play like he did last night, will be a slick scoring stud this year. Having Joe Thornton feeding you the puck helps, but the kid has got both moves and hands that are the stuff of nightmares for all other teams.