2/2/08 SHARKS 3, chicago 2 SO
Ok. Get this. Sharks win a game at home. Ok, that's fine, that happens. Sharks win a game in the shootout. Ok, that happens a bit too. But, here's the kicker, the Sharks win IN THE SHOOTOUT, AT HOME. Yeah. Say it with me.
Jonathan Cheechoo notched his 4th goal in 5 games, Marc-Edouard Vlasic got marker #1 of the year, and Evgeni Nabokov made 4 of 5 stops in the glorified skills competition, as the Sharks pulled out the 2 points in an afternoon matinee at the Tank. Cheech struck on the PP, which has been hot as of late for the Sharks, smacking home a beautiful cross crease pass from Joe Thornton. Pickles wristed home what looked to be the eventual game winner in the 3rd before the Hawks got it back less than 2 minutes later. In the shootout, Patrick Kane scored for the Hawks, and Joe Pavelski kept the Teal in it when he scored. JR then came up in the 5th round and wristed home the goal that put the Sharks ahead, leaving Nabby to shut the door for the 4th consecutive shooter. Nabokov had 19 saves in 65 minutes of play, earning his league leading 29th victory of the year
Chicago, still missing Jonathan Toews, should have been a pushover, but hung in tough, making for a pretty entertaining and physical contest. Jody Shelley made his debut in teal, starting on the left side of Joe Thornton and Jeremy Roenick for the opening faceoff, and took care of plenty of physicality. Shelley opened the game with a thunderous check in front of the Chicago bench, resulting in a scrum and a Douglas Murray fight just 17 seconds into the contest. Shelley recorded 4:55 of ice time, just enough for an enforcer. He'll be a bigger part when the Sharks face bigger fighting teams like the Blue Jackets and Ducks shortly.
With just 30 games left, every two points is an important 2 points. Lucky for the Sharks, or may be not, the Teal have 5 more home games before the traditional 2 week February roadie due to the tennis tournament. The Sharks sit in 2nd in the Pacific, 2 points back of the Stars, but with four games in hand, things aren't too bad. The Ducks loom just 4 points behind, however the Sharks have 4 games in hand on them too.
Game 1 of 5 comes Wednesday night when a familiar face by the name of Scott Hannan comes back to the Tank again (7:30). Hannan, a long time Shark, made his first return to San Jose with his new team in November. The Sharks lead the season series 2-1, winning that contest on 11/30 by a score of 3-2 before heading to Denver on 12/2 to do the same thing by the same 3-2 score. Colorado won the first contest of the season way back on 10/7 by a score of 6-2. The Avalanche are slipping in the standings right now, partially due to the strong injury bug that has hit the team. Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth, Paul Stastny, and Marek Svatos have all been injured for Colorado, who comes to SJ losers in 3 of their last 5 games. It was real nice to see the boys pull one out in the shootout on Saturday, but I'd be fine if they just won it in regulation. They got a chance to take advantage of a weak team in the Avalanche on Wednesday, which usually spells disaster. I hope I'm wrong.
GO SHARKS (Hey Scotty, you still made the wrong choice)