11/25 SHARKS 2, new jersey 0
And just like that, the Sharks are done hosting the Atlantic Division for the season. A little unfortunate for the Teal, as they went 4-1 against this division, stretching their record vs. the Eastern Conference to 6-1. Joe Thornton was the hero last night, with Evgeni Nabokov proving equally as important. Thornton had the only even strength goal, a laser beam past 87-year old, but still amazing goaltender Martin Brodeur that came midway through the 3rd period. Nabokov excelled yet again, making 24 saves for his third shutout of the season. With the win, the Sharks extended their home win streak to 5 games, now holding a 9-2 mark in the Tank.
Just like each of the four other teams before them (with exception of the Islandahs), there were a strong Devil contingent in attendance. However, unlike each of the four previous teams (again, with exception of the Islandahs), Sharks fans in attendance tonight did not hear from the Jersey fans as the Debbils went scoreless tonight. Until Thornton's goal, the game was relatively boring, although each team did have a few good scoring chances. Last night's game was a big win for the Sharks in that New Jersey is a team that has been known for its defense over the past decade. Pulling off a victory, even by scoring just one goal (the other was a Mike Grier shorthanded goal with 8 seconds left), is a big one when it comes against the horned "NJ". By the next time the Sharks host New Jersey, Brodeur may be retired, and this team, which has already lost such big D-men like Ken Daneyko, Scott Niedermayer, and Scott Stevens, may not be the same blueline powerhouse. In the end, the two points is all that matters, but each box score always tells a fun story.
As I'm writing this, I'm finishing packing my suitcase for the 4 game road trip that begins Tuesday in St. Louis. Flying commercial with a budget (Southwest Airlines, unofficial airline of the Odyssey), I'm headed out tomorrow to the Gateway City. After a Tuesday night game with the Blues, the Sharks travel to St. Paul to take on the Wild the next night followed by a Saturday night date with the Red Wings. Monday night sees a rivalry renewed in Big D with Mike Modano and the Stars.
Go Sharks (go come up with a better parenthetical insert joke)