1/4/07 SHARKS 9, detroit 4
First off, happy new year everybody. Hope your new year (and subsequent party) were as rollicking a time as I had. I ended up going to my hotel after the Hooters right next to American Airlines closed at 11. That's right, Hooters, a place that combines beer, hot wings, and scantily clad women into a great party atmosphere closes at 11 on the party night of all party nights of the year. At the hotel bar, I was able to hang out and drink with a large contingent of Cornhusker fans (University of Nebraska) who were in town for the Cotton Bowl, which was the next day, against Auburn (Alabama). Auburn ended up winning the game 17-14, but the Husker faithful had plenty to drink waaaay before the game ever took place.
On to the game, have I mentioned how much I love the stupid ... er stupendous all-black alternate jerseys? The Sharks welcomed in the new year by wearing these monstrosities ... I mean beauties by showing that heart stuff again. Just like the way they responded in Dallas after being polished by the 'Yotes the night before, the Sharks showed some fight after dropping 3 goals early to the Red Wings. With tons of Detroit fans in the Tank, and a 3-0 deficit just 12 minutes into the game, things weren't looking terribly great for anyone wearing teal at the Tank. But the players, showing that heart stuff again, decided to make things a bit different. By getting on the board 3 minutes later, and then putting up a 4 spot in both the second and third periods, shutting up, and sending home, many of the wearers of the winged wheel before the final whistle. I did feel a bit sorry for the Wings fans, as I knew how they were feeling, but after having sat through an 8-0 pounding by Phoenix in Phoenix last week, my sympathy tank wasn't exactly 100% full. Good for them for making the trip, but don't expect any nicey-nice from me or any other Shark fan in the Tank during a game.
The powerplay was excellent, going 6-9 with the man-advantage, setting a franchise record previously set at 5, a number reached each of the past two home games against these same Wings. Ryane Clowe had a pair of goals in his first game back from the IR, Mike Grier added a pair as well, Defenseman Josh Gorges notched his first career goal, Joe Thornton had 4 assists, and Captain Patrick Marleau tallied a goal and 3 assists of his own, passing Owen Nolan for most points all-time as a Shark, and stands one goal short of tying Nolan for that record. Jonathan Cheechoo, Joe Pavelski, and Christian Ehrhoff also scored for the Sharks, recording nine straight goals for the first time in their history. For the second consecutive start, Evgeni Nabokov allowed 3 goals early, and was pulled for Vesa Toskala, who came in and played pretty solidly, earning his 16th win of the year.
The Sharks have now improved to 3-5 on Black Thursday, and have won the season series with the Detroit Red Wings for the first time in their existence 3 games to 1. Tomorrow sees a Saturday night affair with the Columbus Blue Jackets (7:30 pst). The last matchup between these clubs saw the Sharks roll to a 3-0 victory over the Blue Jackets in Columbus, however, under the guidance of new Head Coach Ken Hitchcock, the Jackets are a rougher, stronger club. Facing little adversity, it'll be interesting to see how the Teal respond.
Go Sharks (go home Red Wings