12/9 SHARKS 3, nashville 1
When the Sharks came home from their successful road trip, fans expected a continued dominance on the ice coupled with the advantage of 17,496 teal-clad screaming crazies. What they saw on Thursday was far from it, and, despite the score last night, the 3-1 win was far from dominant as well. Despite the close battle however, the Sharks emerged 3-1 victors over the Central Division-leading Nashville Predators, behind two goals from 2005/06 Rocket Richard winner Jonathan Cheechoo.
Nashville, despite missing a few regulars, still presented themselves as a formidable opponent last night. Evgeni Nabokov had to work for his 8th win of the year by stopping 20 shots, including a couple of breakaways. Jonathan Cheechoo recorded goals number 9 and 10, both from Joe Thornton, the latter goal on the power play. Thornton, who also recorded an assist on Curtis Brown's first period goal, has now recorded a point on every Sharks goal in the past two games.
Nashville, being one of the more eastern-based teams in the Western Conference, had very little support in the building this evening (before you think different, the Predators have a lot of fan support in Nnnn-ahhhshhh-veeeel), but as it turned out, didn't make much of a difference, as there was very little for Pred fans to cheer for anyway.
The win gave the Sharks their 10th home win of the season, far away, but on the way to break their record for home wins in a season that stands at 25.
If I may, at the permission of my loyal readers, my soapbox has been sitting here under my bed for almost two full months, and I'd like to break it out for a quick second here:
A great trend seen in the Arena this year is the constant sellouts. Unfortunately, the building has seen a lot of newer, less experienced hockey patrons, commonly referred to as "first-time fans". Now, don't get me wrong here, as I love seeing new fans come into the building and get sucked into the great action that is Sharks hockey, but when there is a 213-wide game of musical chairs in the first few minutes of the game, fans who know how to wait for the whistle are greatly appreciated. Swap out those multiple Sharkaritas for a jumbo dog and soda, turn that suit and tie into a Milan Michalek jersey, and turn that cell phone hand into a foam finger, and those yuppies are ready for some puck. [/soapbox rant]
Monday sees the Desert Dogs roll into town. The first Phoenix visit of the year sees a pair of Sharks making their return to the Tank, one for the first time. Former Captain Owen Nolan and former Assistant Captain Mike Ricci make their way back into the building that once saw both men in teal at the same time for the better part of a decade.
Go Sharks (go waiting for the whistle)