Thursday, November 29, 2007

11/28/07 los angeles 3, SHARKS 2 (SO)

Oh look, a loss, at home, to the Kings. Only the third time this year that's happened. In three chances no less. Well, at least this time they got a point.

A Joe Thornton slapper and a Craig Rivet power play goal were the tallies for the Teal on a night that saw the Sharks lose their third game to their SoCal rivals this month, and 5th home loss in November. Evgeni Nabokov (which, in Kazakh, means "the one and only stopper of pucks") stood between the pipes in his 23rd start in the Sharks 23rd game of the year, stopping 31 shots in the skills competition loss. Despite goals from Joe Pavelski and Jeremy Roenick in the glorified breakaway challenge, Nabby failed to stonewall attempts by Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, and Patrick O' Sullivan (Milan Michalek took the other attempt for the Sharks, but failed to score).

Where as the Sharks had one goal in each of their past two games, they managed to splurge last night, doubling their output from the last two contests in just 60 minutes of play. Now, two goals in 60 minutes is not great, but it's better than one, so that's not too bad. Offense has been a problem for the Sharks, seemingly lacking the drive and the creativity necessary for a major output of scoring, especially with the man advantage. Sitting in the middle of the pack, the power play is operating at 17.1%, netting 19 goals in 111 opportunities. The team has potted just 59 goals in their 23 games, averaging 2.52 goals a game, good for 22nd in the league. On the plus side, however, the Sharks defense is largely impressive this year, allowing just 2.05 goals a game, which plants them firmly in 2nd in the league in that category (the Rangers lead with a team GAA of 1.84).

The strong Sharks defense has a chance to show up one of it's former members tomorrow night when Scott Hannan and the Colorado Avalanche come to town. Hannan is making his first return to the Tank since leaving over the summer for the thin air of Denver, home to, well, thin air, and, uh, Coors beer (from nearby Golden, CO), and, uh, uh, uhhhh, Woody Paige from ESPN's Around the Horn (5pm Eastern Monday - Friday). Denver is also near the snowy ski resort areas of Aspen and Vail, as well as 4.5 million reasons for each of the next four seasons (18 million in all) why Mr. Hannan should make his professional home in the Mile High City. Once dubbed "The Minister of Defense" (by some lame something or other), Hannan returns to his draft city sporting a team low -14. By contrast, the Sharks are lead in +/- by the √úbertap himself, Douglas Murray, who is a +13. The Avalanche crushed the Sharks in a 6-2 landslide in early October, tomorrow would be a nice time for redemption.

GO SHARKS (Scott who?)

Hmm, beat L.A. you say? So that's what we should be doing to them. I'll be sure to pass that along.


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