1/19/08 detroit 6, SHARKS 3
Detroit came into last night's game as the best team in the league. They left that way too.
Devin Setoguchi did have a goal in his first game since being recalled from AHL Worcester, Jonathan Cheechoo did get off the schneid with a fake wrap-around that was an absolute beaut, and Steve Bernier put a puck past the much disliked "snowangel" tactics of Dominik Hasek, but it wasn't nearly enough for the Teal, who dropped their second straight at home, and 4th consecutive overall. Sandis Ozolinsh had 3 assists in the losing effort, which saw the Sharks strike 3 times on the Power Play. Evgeni Nabokov continued a tough stretch, letting in 6 goals on 28 shots, making just 22 saves.
Saturday's game marks 4 straight losses for the Teal, a stat that has Sharks fans everywhere upset. Just before that, however, we were witness to a team that won three straight on home ice no less, and before a tough OT loss, had gone 4-0 on a calendar year ending roadtrip. Whether it's the parity in the NHL, or just a very bi-polar Sharks club, it's an interesting time to be a fan of the San Jose Sharks, because you truly don't know which team will show up. They have the ability to look so utterly inept at home, but can go into other teams' houses and push them around. They can generate 10 shots per period one night, then finish the next night with just 15 in the entire game. The power play can go 3 for 5 one night, and can go 0 for 10 the next. It is still a long way to April, but each day the path gets one step closer. Last week the Sharks were in 1st in the Pacific, 2nd in the West, and now they've dropped to 3rd and 5th, respectively. They do, however, still hold 4 games in hand on both Anaheim and Pacific leading Dallas, games that will be important to win should they want that division title, #3 seed, and the advantage (or possibly not) of having home ice in the opening round of the post season.
The path becomes one brick shorter after Tuesday night's contest, when the Chicago Blackhawks make their first visit to San Jose in the 2007/08 season (7:30). The two teams have faced off but once, with the Sharks coming out victorious 2-1 in Chicago on 10/10. The Hawks are streaking themselves, winners of 4 straight following a streak of 8 losses. They are missing rookie phenom Jonathan Toews, but still have this year's 1st rounder Patrick Kane in the line-up (#88).
GO SHARKS (win?)