Friday, December 07, 2007

12/5/07 sharks 3, DALLAS 2

Joe Thornton was supreme yet again, recording 3 points in what turned out to be another installment of the "We'll play well for the entire contest, but make it interesting towards the end just to see if your heart is still functioning" series of Sharks contests.

The third notch in the belt came last night in Dallas, as Thornton assisted on goals by the slumping Jonathan Cheechoo and Patrick Marleau, and added a marker himself in what turned out to be the difference maker. Cheechoo's goal was a bit ugly, bouncing off a defenseman and in, Thornton's was a beauty one-timer from Milan Michalek on a set dump-in play, but it was the middle goal that really stood out. With the Captain sitting in the slot, Thornton (or Jumbo, as the team is tending to call him) peeked over his right shoulder to check on Marleau before throwing a strong backhander through three Stars and right to Patty, who slapped it right past goalie Marty Turco. My words do not do it justice, so I suggest you check it out for yourselves. Mr. Dependable, Evgeni Nabokov, was right where he has been all year, between the iron and in front of the twine, for the 26th time this year (in 26 Sharks contests), stopping 17 shots for his league lead tying 14th victory of the campaign.

The W for the Teal was their 3rd consecutive, and 10th on the road this season. It was also their third victory in three games on the hostile frozen waters of the American Airlines Center in Dallas on the year. So, while they aren't, as the Underarmor commercial suggests, "protecting this house", carrying a subpar 4-5-2 record at the Tank, they are doing a fine job not sucking entirely, peforming well in foreign territory.

Friday's contest sees the Sharks end their roadtrip (unfortunately) in the home of another Pacific Division foe, the Phoenix Coyotes (6:00). The 'Yotes are a much improved team since the Sharks last saw them, namely because of their new netminder, Ilya Bryzgalov. Placed on waivers by Anaheim for reasons that only Mickey Mouse knows (oh, right. Not Disney anymore, oh well), Phoenix was fourth on the priority list, and was able to snatch him up. Bryz started off hot for the Coyotes, winning his first four starts. Since then, he's cooled off a bit, losing his next four, before defeating the Kings last night. The Sharks lead the season series with the Desert Dogs 3-0, winning games in SJ (4-1 on 11/10, and 5-0 on 11/12) and the lone contest in Phoenix (6-0 on 11/15). All three games were without Bryzgalov, a major step in the right direction for Phoenix. Hopefully it makes no difference.



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