2/3 SHARKS 4, chicago 2
The afternoon hockey game is always a strange occurance, as is really doing anything inside during such a beautiful day, but, as strange as it is to play or attend an afternoon hockey game, it is ridiculously horrible to be a fan of a losing team in such an occurance. Thank god that didn't happen yesterday in Teal Town, or thank Goc rather. A Marcel Goc shorthander  (Patrick Rissmiller, Vesa Toskala), complete with goals from Curtis Brown  (Scott Hannan, Vesa Toskala), Patrick Marleau  (Ryane Clowe, Joe Thornton), and Milan Michalek  (Jonathan Cheechoo), and voila, a win, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.
You may have noticed, as I was recapping the goals and assists there, Vesa Toskala's name appeared a couple times. Albeit a couple of fluky plays, Toskala becomes the first Sharks goaltender with multiple (2) assists and points in a game. In his first game as the official #1 (since Nabokov is out for a week or so), Toskala impressed not only offensively with a pair of assists, but with 20 decent saves for his 22nd win of the season.
Also, abnormal to the scoresheet (however, increasingly disturbing by the game) was the lack of a Sharks powerplay goal. The man "advantage" (that's what it's supposed to be, but I haven't seen any such thing lately) unit has just 1 goal in their last 38 tries, stretching through their last 7 games. Again, I can't really complain, as the team is playing pretty well, and just going through a rough patch, but if the Sharks are to catch the Wings, Ducks, and possibly even the Predators in the regular season, or make much noise in the post-season, they're just gonna have to do better than that.
The Sharks have a couple days off, followed by two big games, nay, two huge games. The Sharks trail the Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific Division by just 3 points, with both teams even at 53 games played. The Sharks open a back-to-back, home-and-home series with those same Ducks on Tuesday evening in the Tank (7:30). The Ducks lead the season series 2-1, with the last game going to the Ducks 4-3, played in San Jose on December 26th. The Sharks took the other contest in SJ, also by a score of 4-3. With the Ducks healthy now, and the Sharks reeling a bit without defenseman Kyle McLaren (IR, eligible to come off any day), forwards Steve Bernier (IR in Worcester. Minors still count, he'd be here if he wasn't injured), Joe Pavelski (day-to-day, could play Tuesday), and Mark Smith (also day-to-day, could play Tuesday), and freshly injured #1a goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, it should be interesting to see if the Sharks can close the gap on their SoCal rivals, and possibly even open up a gap on the other side (but we'll get to that later). Tuesday couldn't come soon enough.
Quick note, the National Lacrosse League's San Jose Stealth (professional indoor "box" lacrosse) played last night, and were beaten by the Calgary Roughnecks by a score of 15-11.
Today is the granddaddy of the professional football games. The Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts face off in SuperBowl XLI in Miami. Bring on some football, and bring on some commercials.
Go Sharks (go Bears)