10/17 SHARKS 2, dallas 0
It's good to be home. After 3 games on the road, the boys showed they still know how to excite the home crowd. After a week on the road myself, it was very pleasant to be part of that home crowd. To steal a line about Wrigley Field in Chicago, last night's game was played in the friendly confines of the tank. From start to finish, pre-game skate to the three stars, last night was a good night in Sharks hockey.
With the 5-0 Dallas Stars rolling into town, expectations were high for the defending Pacific Division Champions to come into San Jose and give the Sharks a total run for their money, and quite possibly head back to the Big D with two points from the tank. While the Stars had plenty of good scoring chances, they were playing their third game in four nights, and it showed. The Sharks took full advantage of the situation, playing a full 60 minute game, a complete victory for the boys in teal.
It's always been said that hockey is a game of bounces. When you get them, you win, more often than not. When you work hard, you usually get those bounces. Last night, the Sharks worked hard, and got those bounces. For example, in the first period, after the first few minutes on the penalty kill, the Sharks had the puck deep in the zone. A puck thrown to the net was tipped by a backhand off the stick of Milan Michalek, going up and over the head and shoulders of Stars goalie Marty Turco and into the back of the net. Solid play in the second led to a neutral zone turnover into a 3-2 for the Sharks, with Jonathan Cheechoo feeding Mark Bell to make the score 2-0 Sharks; a score that stuck, thanks to great defense and goaltending from Evgeni Nabokov circa 2001.
Last night's game was an important one for the Sharks, and, as a long time fan, it was nice to see that they played the game like it mattered. This whole homestand is a big test for team teal, with, (going into last night) all three Western Conference divisional leaders coming to town. A little assistance from the schedule I just stumbled upon, however, may turn out to help the Sharks a bit. Last night's game was the third in four nights for the Stars, having played in L.A on Saturday, and Anaheim on Sunday. Tomorrow the Detroit Red Wings come to town to play their third in four nights, having played on Monday in L.A. and tonight in Anaheim. To end the homestand, on Saturday, the Minnesota Wild arrive, playing, you guessed it, their third in four nights after playing in L.A. tonight, and Anaheim on Friday. Just an interesting little hitch in the schedule, and, as the week goes on, we'll see if it will help the Sharks in anyway.
On a side note, today is my 21st birthday, so, if you may be having a beer tonight, I'm drinking right there with you, legally, of course.
Go Sharks (and go drink, responsibly)