Thursday, March 31, 2011

San Jose Sharks: The Final Six Game Stretch

With a win tonight against the rival Dallas Stars at HP Pavilion, the San Jose Sharks can guarantee qualifying for playoffs. Not that Sharks fans alike have any doubt; the Sharks are one of the hottest teams in the NHL right now, with an amped defensive line and a slew of hard working forwards putting up respectable point productions: namely Logan Couture, Ryane Clowe, Joe Pavelski, and Patrick Marleau.

The Sharks are currently seeded third in the Western Conference, just one point behind the Detroit Red Wings, a team that just last night suffered one of its worst losses in a 10-3 embarrassment to the St. Louis Blues – at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, no less. Fortunately, the Sharks have one game in hand, so with a win tonight, they can potentially be one point ahead of the Red Wings with equal games played.

Since the last Sharks-related update on The San Jose Blog, the Sharks have played two games: the first against the Los Angeles Kings (resulting in a shootout loss), and against the Phoenix Coyotes (resulting in a 4-1 Sharks victory).

The Kings game had been particularly exciting due to the third period scoring; more specifically a three goal outburst during the last three and a half minutes of play. As the Kings held on to a 2-1 lead for most of the game, Patrick Marleau tied it up with just 3:32 left in the third period, giving the Sharks and Sharks fans hope they could rally for a victory against the Kings. Not long thereafter, Joe Thornton took a penalty, giving the Kings a power play, and allowing Kings captain Dustin Brown to score with 1:42 left, lifting them back to a one goal lead.

As the game came to a close, and with Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi pulle for the extra attacker, the Sharks executed a successful last-minute effort, with Marleau scoring again to tie the game – with only four seconds left in regulation. Although the Sharks ended up losing in the eventual shootout, Marleau’s goal guaranteed the always helpful standings point.

The game versus the Coyotes saw the Sharks dominate, as usual. Niemi played extremely well, saving many hard-to-block shots, despite not having an incredibly large shot on net count. Logan Couture tallied twice, further making a strong case for himself as a top Calder Trophy contender. Ryane Clowe tallied as well, also adding a couple of assists and a fight (against none other than Twitter celebrity Paul Bissonnette @BizNasty2point0) to complete a Gordie Howe hat trick. The final score was a 4-1 Sharks victory in Phoenix.

Six more games are left for the Sharks to play before the end of the season – all against other Pacific Division teams. The Sharks are currently atop the Pacific Division with 97 points, two ahead of the Phoenix Coyotes, three ahead of the Los Angeles Kings, four ahead of the Anaheim Ducks, and ten ahead of the Dallas Stars. With the Pacific Division performing so well, it’s entirely possible that all five teams could be in the top eight by the end of the season – a rare feat, no doubt, but incentive for the Sharks to never stop playing well.

1 comment:

  1. The Sharks have looked terrible in this series. I at least expected them to close out games better. Given their play as of recent, I think that they definitely belong on this list I came across earlier: