Wednesday, April 04, 2007

4/4 sharks 3, ANAHEIM 2 SO

50! (Ok, so it was a shoot out win, but it was still a win, and that's what ultimately matters.)

The Sharks, playing their final road game of the season (and, coincidentally, the Ducks final home game of the season), gave the visiting fans a show, dropping to a quick deficit, and then battling back to tie it against one of the Western Conference elite, ultimately pulling ahead in the shoot out (boy I hate shooto... oh wait, maybe I don't).

The Teal (well, Black last night. Yes, those stupid black jersesy found their way onto the backs of the Sharks on the road) found themselves down 1-0 early in the game, as Andy McDonald put one past goalie Evgeni Nabokov. Scott Niedermayer made it 2-0 a few minutes later, seemingly setting the tone for a very rough game for any San Jose supporters in the building. However, Head Coach Ron Wilson must have said something to his players, as they came out in the 2nd with a second wind. Scott Hannan finally broke through the Ilya Bryzgalov wall [4], when his slap shot from the point found it's way through legs and sticks and eventually found twine (Marcel Goc, Mike Grier). Steve Bernier tied the game at 2 when he found himself with the puck and some time and space in the slot (a theme for Sharks goals, recently), and roofed a backhander past Bryzgalov [15] (Kyle McLaren, Goc).

The 3rd period was an exciting one, as each team had opportunities to score, but a Craig Rivet hooking call with just 35 seconds left in regulation looked to spell doom for the Sharks. As the game creeped into OT, the Ducks were prepared to play 4-on-3 for the first 1:25 of the extra period, but Ron Wilson, pulling a gutsy, veteran move, fixed that, by calling for a stick measurement on Teemu Selanne. If Selanne's stick was found illegal, he would recieve a 2 minute minor for an illegal stick, and the teams would skate 3-on-3 for 95 seconds, and if it was found as a legal stick, the Sharks would get the 2 minute minor, and the Ducks would have a 5-on-3 for those 95 seconds. Well, fortunately for Fin fans everywhere, Ron Wilson's gamble paid off, Teemu's stick was found to be illegal, and he received the 2 minute minor that goes with it, alleviating some pressure on the Sharks. Each team had a couple chances to win the game, but the Ducks posessed the puck for most of the 4th period, taking 6 shots on net to the Sharks 2. In the always painful (which is now only the almost always painful) shoot out, the Sharks took advantage of their situation. Ryan Getzlaf took the first shot, and made it look awfully easy to score on the Sharks netminder, walking right in and putting it right past Nabokov. Jonathan Cheechoo, however, knotted the shoot out at 1 on his attempt. Selanne, next up, possibly showed how comfortable he was with his illegal stick, over-gripping his stick and and over-snapping his wrist shot, sending it way wide. Ryane Clowe buried his opportunity, sticking his backhander where momma hides the cookies ((top shelf) Sorry, I just had to do that). McDonald needed to score to lengthen the shoot out, but was unable to score as he was unable to even hold onto the puck (probably an ice problem), ending the shoot out and ending the game (ok, so on this night, the shoot out and the black jerseys weren't all that bad, but they still suck). Nabokov, in all, made 37 saves, not including causing both Selanne and McDonald to miss on their attempts, earning his 24th win on the season.

As this was the final game in the Pond on the year, I can't say that I'll miss it here. Not that I don't like it, but I don't care for the fans, who either yell and scream at you because they're winning, or yell and scream at you because you won. The real kicker to me is that most of these people don't really know from what they scream, but the fact that they care is what's important for this game. To also reflect upon this being the final road game for the year, I must say, it's been a bit insane. From walking across the street to the arena to walking through rain and snow for a few blocks to another, from talking with fans in Edmonton for the duration of a game, to getting yelled at by a homeless man for wearing a "very nice" (substitute those with the word that begins with the letter before "N" and ends with the letter after "Q"), it's been quite a trip on the road. I hope this doesn't even scratch the surface of my stories, as the most important session of hockey has yet to come.

A victory is only to savor until the next contest, and that next contest comes tonight (Thursday) for the Sharks, who return home to face the Calgary Flames (7:30 pacific). The Sharks lead the season series 2-1, splitting games in the Saddledome, and taking the one played in San Jose way back in December 4-1. With 104 points, the Sharks, who have tied an all-time franchise high in points, sit just 2 points back of Nashville for 4th in the West (equal in Games Played). The Predators also play tonight, visiting the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

Go Sharks (Go Blues)

The Honda Ponda, in the kinda cloudy daylight.

This statue harkens back to the days when the NHL team in Anaheim got no respect, because they had funky colors, a really bad logo, and a wimpy sounding name. It's a good thing the black and gold, name for a logo, Ducks aren't that now. No, not at all.


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