5/2 WCSF Game 4: detroit 3, SHARKS 2 OT
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is, just like last round, how you defend your home i... wait, what? The Sharks did WHAT? AGAIN? No really, they, they did it AGAIN? OH ****.
No, the series is not over, no the Sharks aren't finished, but it's definitely not the 3-1 edge that was 33 seconds from happening. The old adage says "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, and I'll probably lose the series", or something like that.
The light at the end of the tunnel got a bit dimmer and further away last night, as the Sharks put a couple goals on the board, and then sat back a bit and watched as the Red Wings stormed back for 3 consecutive goals, (sounds kinda familiar), including the game winner that unfortunately was redirected by the body of a diving Patrick Rissmiller. Despite a solid game from #20 (Evgeni Nabokov), the Teal were not able to take the 7th step towards the silver chalice of greatness last night, unfortunately stumbling instead.
The game began pretty evenly, each side getting a couple chances early on, with Dominik Hasek's snow angel tactic almost exploited a number of times, but it was a standing Hasek that was eventually beaten. With the puck turned over to the Sharks, Jonathan Cheechoo dished to Milan Michalek, who tossed it ahead to The Playmaker himself, Joe Thornton (7 consecutive games with a point, what a playoff choker). Thornton fed a pearl of a cross-ice pass to Cheechoo , who simply whacked it across the little red line and into the twine (Thornton, Michalek).
Despite being outshot in the 1st, the Sharks looked decent, controlling the play for the most part, and leading the game. The lead was extended 8 minutes into the frame when a seemingly harmless Marcel Goc  slapper, did, in fact, slap the helmet of Wing Dman Andreas Lilja, and knuckle its way over the head of Hasek, and into the net (Rissmiller). A Kyle McLaren cross check with just 9.9 seconds remaining in the 2nd put the Wings on the PP, and with just 5 seconds remaining, Tomas Holmstrom baseball swung his way into the game and the series, when he chopped the puck at waist level past Nabokov.
The 3rd seemed harmless enough, as the Sharks started shooting again, only being outshot 3/2, however, it was the one goal that made the difference. With the game almost iced, the Teal made a very undisciplined mistake, as, down by a man (Hasek was pulled for the 6-on-5), three Sharks were on the offensive side of the puck. With the puck on the blueline, and three fifths of the Sharks on the ice on the wrong side of that puck and blueline, the Wings were able to capitalize, as Valtteri Filppula (easy to spell) flipped the puck up to Robert Lang, who ripped a shot past Nabokov, much to the dismay of the 17496 (well, there were a few Wing fans, but they don't count) teal clad crazies in attendance.
Overtime was a tense one, as most overtimes are. The Wings outshot the Sharks (surprise) 12-6 in the period, but really didn't outchance the San Jose squad. In fact, it was an otherwise harmless attempt that ended up costing the home town team. With Craig Rivet in the box for a delay of game (flipping the puck over the glass) penalty, Scott Hannan made a clearing attempt up the middle that was caught by Mathieu Schneider. Schneider took a shot, but Sharks PKer Rissmiller was there to step up and lay down to block it. Unfortunately, he didn't get enough of the shot, and instead of halting its course, he redirected it severly, past the vast traffic in the slot, sneaking by Nabokov and into the net. Nabokov was amazing yet again, making 46 saves.
There were more Wings fans in attendance last night, and, unfortunately, more happy Wings fans too. I got to talk to a few fans of the Winged Wheel, and they were very nice, talking about what a scary squad the Sharks are, and how from the beginning, they thought the series will go at least 6, if not 7, but were slowly beginning to write off their Wings, thinking 5 games would be it (keep in mind this was prior to the Wings forcing at least 2 more games). Even afterwards, the Sharks got much praise from the Detroit fans I talked to, with them saying that the series is still far from won. I also ran into and briefly got to thank/praise the GM of the Sharks, the man responsible for assembling such a scary great roster that is chock full of talent, Mr. Doug Wilson. The original Captain of the Sharks and a huge fan favorite from that, he hasn't made himself any less liked in SJ with the masterful work he's done with the roster, ensuring what looks to be great success in many years to come.
As much as I hate to agree with a Wings fan, this series is not over (feel free to step down from the ledge). It is knotted at 2, and the Wings definitely have some momentum going home, but momentum has meant little in this series, as the team that has scored first has lost 3 of 4 games. With Nabokov playing lights out in goal, hard work will bring bounces, bounces will bring goals for the Teal, and, coupled with some defense and a full on, 60 minute effort, wins will be on their way. Wins can be had, and, until someone gets 4 games, anyone can win the series. On a bit of a side note, I will be breaking in my newest Sharks jersey, one of the old teal unis, circa 1995/96 season, when one Jeff Odgers (Don't leave your seat during play, or Jeff Odgers will break your face) was the Captain of Team Teal. Look for me at the Joe, Section 224, Row 6, Seat 3. I'll be the guy (hopefully) not getting beat up by thousands of Wings fans.
And, on one last note, after the Sharks first goal last night, some meatball threw a dead shark onto the ice. Throwing a dead version of your team's nickname, genius. Leave the tossing of the dead stuff to a city in which it means something (Detroit with octopi, and Florida with plastic rats). It just looks goofy and a little classless, because it makes so little sense. If you are the meatball, please don't do it again, and if you saw what the meatball did, please don't emulate that meatball. Meatball.
GO SHARKS (HAAAA-SEKKK) (SNOW-ANGEL)