10/21 minnesota 4, SHARKS 1
I would like to preface this post with the following: I needed to get packed and get some sleep last night because of my early flight out of here to Columbus, so I apologize for both posting late, and not having as many details still in my head; it's been a looooong day.
I guess the hockey gods heard me. All the gushing I did following the Sharks victory on Thursday came back to haunt me last night as the Sharks played as flat against Minnesota as they played well that night against Detroit. Not to discredit the Wild, as they rebounded superbly from a loss the previous night to the Ducks, playing a very sound game, offensively and defensively, but the Sharks looked out of it.
The whole night was pretty boring, as the Wild have always been known to play a trap style defense, clogging up the neutral zone and taking away all passing lanes. The Sharks kill was good once again, but the power play stumbled a little, as the Minnesota D kept the PP from even penetrating the zone effectively. As the Wild defense is supposed to work, when the Sharks were able to get a shot on goal, it wasn't a quality shot. As the pressure forced them to unload the puck much quicker than they would have liked to, Manny Fernandez was there to get in the way. A late third period rush up the middle by the captain, (Patrick Marleau) led to a backhander past the diving glove of Fernandez, but it proved to just not be enough.
There were not a whole lot of Wild fans in the crowd tonight, many fewer than most of the visiting teams thus far. It was nice to spend some time at home, where I was part of the majority in the arena, but alas, it must come to an end, temporarily.
As I'm finishing this early Monday morning, tonight is the first game of a five game road trip. Tonight sees the Sharks take on the much improved Columbus Blue Jackets. As of this time tomorrow, I should be able to report on everything the Nationwide Arena has to offer, however, I may not be able to get a read on the hospitality of the locals towards a Shark fan. Yesterday saw two delays in two airports, one gate change in SJ, and a triple gate change in Chicago Midway, resulting in one lost bag for this fan. Unless my bag appears sometime today, or I happen to find a sports store to purchase another sweater, tonight's game will not see me attending in teal. At the end of the month, I will do my first hospitality round up, rating each city on how they receive me as an opposing fan; hopefully I'll have a Columbus entry to speak of for then.
Go Sharks (and don't go Southwest, unless you like delays and multiple gate changes; they do have goofy stewardesses who are nice, but still)