11/4 SHARKS 3, pittsburgh 2
When hearing all about the Penguins dynamic duo, it took me a while to realize I wasn't coming to the arena to see Jagr and Super Mario. Coming into the game, Evgeni Malkin had played in six games going into last night, and had not failed to put the puck in the net at least once in each of those six. Per the NHL schedule rotation, the Sharks had never seen Sidney Crosby, and, per the NHL schedule, they shall meet again next year in Pittsburgh, and then not again until 2009/10 when they're back in SJ. Granted, by then, I believe each Malkin and Crosby will have a chance at free agency.
Last night's game had huge potential, just like the majority of talent in the match-up (Crosby, Malkin, Jordan Staal, Michel Ouellet, Marc-Andre Fleury, Matt Carle, Marc-Eduoard Vlasic, Milan Michalek - there are a lot more, but you get the point). With a large number of Pens fans in attendance, (or at least all the Pens fans sitting around me) the game had a playoff-like atmosphere.
Not disappointing, this game was played like a playoff game. A minute into the game, recent 3rd line demotee Jonathan Cheechoo got his skates tangled with Pens defenseman Mark Eaton. A bit of an added shove from Cheech, and Eaton went flying into the boards, bracing himself with his hand (when skating off the ice, he was overheard saying that he thought he broke his wrist again). After receiving a 5 minute boarding penalty (a penalty always accompanied by game misconduct), Crosby, as all teammates usually do, stuck up for Eaton by roughing up Cheechoo a bit, and securing himself a two minute penalty.
The rest of the period saw continued penalties, and a pair of disallowed goals. One was a Dominic Moore goal, disallowed because of a delayed hold on Matt Carle. The second was a Kyle McLaren goal, disallowed due to goaltender interference on Mike Grier.
McLaren still got his goal with a rebound of his own shot. Ouellet tied the game with a snipe shot past the glove hand of Toskala. When the Penguins scored, one might have thought that the game was in Pittsburgh, with the large black and gold contingent in the crowd. By the way, if there are any Penguin fans reading this, please clue me in to the origins and meaning behind the guy who was holding up a "Look out Loretta" sign when the Pens scored.
A Carle goal late in the second, a Grier trickler early in the third, and a Moore tally were the other markers on the scoreboard for the evening. Despite a few chances, Crosby and Malkin were held scoreless, Malkin for the first time in his NHL career. Crosby is now another guy subject to "The Treatment" in SJ, based on his retaliatory actions towards Cheechoo in the first, joining the likes of Ed Belfour, Theo Fleury, Chris Pronger, and Teemu Selanne.
A quick shout out to my new friends at TheFeeder.com, an online Sharks publication since 1997. Please go check it out. Columns, message boards, and more.
Tuesday sees the homestand end with the Minnesota Wild back in town with a 7:30 PST start time for this one. If the teal show up then like they did last night, Tuesday should be another fun one.
Go Sharks (go Niners [a lost cause yes, but still it is football])