4/5 SHARKS 4, calgary 3
Welcome to the best Sharks team (record wise) in 15 years of hockey in the Bay. The Sharks 51st win of the year (and 5th consecutive victory) was an easy one, that is until the Sharks decided to sit back in the final 10 minutes of the 3rd and make it unnecessarily interesting. The second night of the final back-to-back of the season saw the Sharks wearing their traditional all black alternate jerseys for Black Thursday (one could say the Sharks played black-to-black games, oh and did I mention, I love the black jerseys). After coming home victorious in a shootout from Southern California (Disneyland country) over the Pacific Division leading Ducks, the Sharks had another tough team to face in the Calgary Flames. To my eyes, the Sharks really only showed fatigue with about 10 minutes left in the 3rd, when they allowed the Flames to make a game of it, closing a 3 goal gap to just 1.
As the score accurately told, last night's contest was a hard fought, playoff like game between the teams. The first period went scoreless, despite a bit of chippy play, and a handful of scoring opportunities for either side. After the first twenty minutes, however, the game was not quite as scoreless. Milan Michalek  crashed the net at just the right time, picking up a rebound from a broken play and rifling it past goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff (Matt Carle, Joe Thornton). Just under two minutes later, Mark Bell did that same crashing the net stuff , and found the puck sitting loose after a couple nice saves by Kiprusoff, but found him sprawled on the ice, and just shot it over him to make it 2-0. Kristian Huselius cut the lead in half less than a minute later, and it stood at 2-1 after two. 3rd period goals from Mike Grier  (Curtis Brown, Kyle McLaren) and Jonathan Cheechoo (Thornton, Michalek) gave the fans pizza (four in the net, pizza you get) and the Sharks a 3 goal lead midway through the 3rd and final period, but a pair of Jarome Iginla goals brought the Flames back within one. Despite some solid offensive play by Calgary, the Sharks stood tall, holding to their 4-3 lead until time expired. Evgeni Nabokov won his fifth consecutive game, making 29 stops, earning his 25th win of the year in the process.
Another game, another thank you to everyone who had such kind words for me at the Tank last night, I love all the critiquing I get, both positive and negative, and it really makes me feel good to get so much positive feedback.
The Sharks conclude the 2006/07 regular season with a Saturday afternoon matinee with the Vancouver Canucks (1:00 pacific). The Canucks lead the series 2-1, splitting in Vancouver, and the Canucks have taken the one game played in SJ. The Canucks have been carried by the unconscious play of goaltender Roberto Luongo (bingo bango bongo), however, with just one game left, the Canucks find themselves needing to win in order to stave off the charging Minnesota Wild in order to claim the Northwest Division crown. The Sharks are still in a Division title race themselves, as the Anaheim Ducks fell in the shootout yet again, this time to the Dallas Stars. The OTL give the Ducks 108 points, which is the maximum number of points the Sharks can finish with. With a Sharks win, and an Anaheim loss in regulation on Saturday (they are playing in Columbus and are 1-2 against the Jackets this year), the Sharks will become the 2006/07 Pacific Division Champions. Anything less will see the Ducks win their first Division title in franchise history.
Go Sharks (Go Blue Jackets)
Sharkie, who was as ready to put out the Flames as the Sharks were.