12/20/07 phoenix 3, SHARKS 2 SO
It took a skills competition, but the Phoenix Coyotes finally beat the Sharks this year.
Since defeating the Sharks 8-0 in Phoenix last December 30th, the Sharks have won all 8 contests between the two teams, until last night. A Shane Doan goal with just 40 seconds left tied it, and the anti-climatic shootout sealed the two points for the Desert Dogs. The opening 40 saw many shots and many saves, but no goals. Just 33 seconds into the third, Mike York opened the scoring, with Torrey Mitchell evening the score shortly thereafter. a Brou-ha-ha broke out, with Steve Bernier, Patrick Marleau, and Jeremy Roenick dropping the gloves for the Sharks, and Nick Boynton, Daniel Carcillo, and Keith Yandle going for Phoenix. JR scored #502 on the ensuing PP, and it looked like it would hold, until a wobbly Doan wrister floated past Evgeni "34 starts in 34 Sharks games this year" Nabokov. Nabby and Bryzgalov were incredible all night long, making 35 and 36 saves, respectively.
If you didn't know any better, you would have thought last night's game was against a top team in the conference. Now, while Phoenix is not sitting atop any standings, they are a vastly improved club since the arrival of Ilya Bryzgalov last month. They now approach each game with plenty of confidence, which fits nicely with their hunger and talent. It's nice to see that the Desert might have a quality team to cheer for again, unfortunately it might come at the expense of the Sharks, who will have to face this strong club so many times each year.
Saturday brings the final home game of 2007 for the Sharks, and it's definitely no pushover, when the Ducks come back to town (7:30). The Teal have not found great success at home this year, winning just 6 of 17 games played on the sheet at 525 W. Santa Clara. Losers of their last three on home ice, the Sharks would be well served to deliver an early Christmas present to the 17,496 sure to pack the Tank tomorrow evening in the form of two points for the good guys. San Jose has an uphill battle, as they face the same team that just this past Tuesday on home ice shut them out for the first time this season. Anaheim leads the season series 3-1. Whatever the result, tomorrow should not disappoint. If it does, it'll be a long Christmas break before we see the boys get another shot on home ice.
GO SHARKS (DUCKS STILL SUCK "quack quack")