Monday, March 31, 2008

3/30/08 SHARKS 3, phoenix 1

Yawn, another win again.

2 more goals for Joe, another strong effort for Nabby, and 1 less game before they start really mattering. Joe knotted the first and second goals, giving him 28 on the year, and 7 in his last 3. Curtis Brown added another, and Milan Michalek had a pair of assists. Evgeni Nabokov had 19 saves for the win.

The win is the Sharks 3rd consecutive win, and 19th consecutive game with a point. The win gives the Sharks an unblemished record in the month of March, surrendering just 2 of a possible 30 to opponents, while capturing 28 of 30 for themselves.

I never thought I'd find myself getting bored with hockey, but at this stage, where the Sharks have clinched the Pacific, its nice to sit back, relax, and enjoy a hockey game without getting worked up...too much. There's three more games, 1 at the Tank, it'll be nice to just kinda rest up, get the throat ready for the playoffs, and watch the fringe playoff teams beat the snot out of each other for the right to get the snot beaten out of them in the playoffs.

The last regular season game of 2007/08 at 525 W. Santa Clara is slated for Tuesday, April 1, at 7:30. Put simply, the Kings have had a crappy year, again. They have much young talent, and will improve, eventually. Until then, we will enjoy beating up on them mercilessly. The season series is tied at three, as the teams will play again on Thursday at Staples Center.


Friday, March 28, 2008

3/28/08 sharks 3, ANAHEIM 1

Congrats boys, but the work has just begun.

Captain Patrick Marleau got the team going good early, Jeremy Roenick added #509 (which turned out to be the game winner, of course, and Curtis Brown shoved Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller and the puck into the net, and the San Jose Sharks are 2007-2008 Pacific Division Champions. Joe Pavelski had a big night, recording assists on all three Sharks goals, and Brian "english for Evgeni Nabokov" Boucher looked strong in net for the Teal, making 23 saves for the win.

The win clinches the 2007-2008 Pacific Division for the Sharks, their third division title (they won the Pacific in 2001-02 and 2003-04). It also secures the Sharks enter the post-season with a seed no lower than #2, extends their point streak to 18 games (16-0-2), and breaks the Ducks 10 game home winning streak, the longest in the NHL this season. Its the Sharks 27th road win this year, leaving them one short of the all-time record, set by the 1998-1999 New Jersey Devils with 28. The Teal are on the road twice more, Thursday April 3rd in LA, and Sunday April 6th in Dallas.

First things first, however. Before those road games comes finishing up the home schedule, starting Sunday when the Teal welcome the Phoenix Coyotes to town (5:00 PM START TIME). The Yotes are out of the playoff picture this year, but will be there in the future, and are working real hard in these meaningless games. The Sharks lead the season series 4-3, winning 2 of 3 played in San Jose (4-1 on 11/10 and 5-0 on 11/12) and splitting in Phoenix (6-0 on 11/15 and 1-0 on 12/7). The 'Yotes have won the last three, however one in San Jose (3-2 SO on 12/20) and two in Phoenix (5-3 on 1/15 and 5-4 OT on 3/25).

GO SHARKS (Congrats on the division, now for the important stuff)

Thanks to poster Led Zappa of for the image, physical banner to be unveiled in the fall.

3/27/08 SHARKS 3, dallas 2 OT

That one finally went over the line.

It took a 5-on-3 in OT, but the Sharks finally got it done, beating the Stars 3-2 last night. Joe Thornton now has 5 goals in his last 2 games with a pair last night, including the game winner that apparently banked off of Phillipe Boucher's skate. Evgeni Nabokov was his not-as-sleepy-as-Tuesday self, making 23 saves, including an unbelievable goalline plucking that Mike Modano celebrated as though it was in.

The trouble for Dallas star(boo)ted when crazy insaneo netminder Marty Turco, who has always had a short temper, decided to cut off Joe Pavelski's lane to the back of the net by using his stick to block Pavelski's face, opening a cut on Pavelski and getting Turco 4 minutes that was served by Mike Ribeiro. After Soupy Brian Campbell melted onto the ice, Mike Modano stole the puck and walked right in, jersey flapping from the breeze of his ego (and speed, I guess), and proceeded to put the puck under Nabby's pads and wide, then on the stuff back attempt, he was met by the curve of Nabokov's paddle, and denied. For whatever reason, he thought it went in, and gave up, which allowed the Sharks to bring the puck back out, and allowed the 17,496 a chance to apologize for the horrible expletives that came flying from their mouths just moments before.

The unexciting part is when shortly thereafter, Trevor Daley took a stupid hooking penalty, and about 10 seconds later, Thornton banked a pass off Boucher's skate and in, which was initially given to Captain Patrick Marleau. Yes, the game winner, boring.

The win extended the Sharks point streak to 17 games, and moved them to within 3 points of clinching the Pacific Division, something that can be done tonight, on the road against the Anaheim Ducks (ANOTHER 7:00 PM START TIME). The Ducks aren't fully healthy, something that hasn't held them back. Ryan Carter (wrist), Ryan Getzlaf (shoulder), J.S. Giguere (back), Corey Perry (leg), and Chris Pronger (stomping suspension) are all probably out tonight for the Ducks, who have won both games since losing in San Jose last Friday. The Ducks lead the season series 5-2.

GO SHARKS (A win tonight in any fashion clinches the division, so do that)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

3/25/08 PHOENIX 5, sharks 4 OT

Well, damn.

I'm gonna do this one a bit different, let me know what you think of it and if I should do it again in the future.

Basic stats:
- Joe Thornton had a hand in every goal, 4 points on 4 goals (3 goals, 1 assist).
- JR filled in well for the injured Cheechoo (keep your head up Kunitz), putting up 2 assists on Thornton's wing.
- Pickles looked good with the puck, and had 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist).
- Nabby had an off-night, making 22 saves. Boucher got the loss, though, relieving Nabby and making 9 saves.

- Sharks battled back from a 3-0 3rd Period deficit to get a point.
- Joe Thornton dominated offensively.
- The loss doesn't have a killer effect, yet.
- It wasn't "Coyote Ugly", just "Coyote Eh, Not Great"
- Boucher relieved Nabokov in the 3rd, and played real well considering he was cold.
- The offense still clicked minus Cheechoo, and the defense wasn't all bad without Rivet.

- Sharks got themselves in a 3-0 hole by playing uninspired and lazy.
- The Teal missed an opportunity to inch closer to clinching the division.
- It's the freaking Phoenix Coyotes (unfortunately, they're not a pushover anymore).
- Nabokov, who hasn't been weak much this season, was. If it happens again, that would be not good.
- The playoffs will bring injuries, and the Sharks struggled with a non-playoff team missing a couple guys.

- The Sharks still sit 5 points from the Pacific Division Championship, including tonight's Ducks shootout win over LA.
- The loss puts the Sharks 8 points back of Detroit, pretty much ending hopes to win the Western Conference and the Presidents Trophy.
- San Jose now has a 16 game point streak, last losing in regulation on February 20th in New Jersey.
- When the Sharks went down by 2 goals in the 2nd Period, it was the first time they had trailed by 2 since February 17th at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers.
- The Teal are 1 point from clinching home ice advantage in the 1st round.

Next Game:
The Sharks host the Dallas Stars (boo) for the last time this year tomorrow (SPECIAL 7:00 FACEOFF). The Stars were on top of the division for most of 2008, until mid-February when the Sharks got hot, and rolled right past the Ducks and Stars (boo). Since trading for Brad Richards from Tampa on Feb 26, the Stars (boo) have won twice in nine games, including a 7-4 win in Richards' debut. Richards had 5 points, all assists, in that game. Since then, Richards has had 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in 8 games and is a -3. The season series is tied at 3, seeing the road team win every game. The Sharks: 3 wins in Dallas (4-2 on 10/29, 4-3 SO on 11/14, 4-3 on 12/5), The Stars (boo) 3 wins in San Jose: (3-1 on 11/7, 4-2 on 12/15, and 4-2 on 1/17).

GO SHARKS (Beat the Stars [BOO])

Monday, March 24, 2008

3/21/08 SHARKS 2, anaheim 1


All is right with the world.

Joe Thornton played well, Jeremy Roenick had a goal that stood up as the game winner, of course, and the Sharks beat the Ducks Friday, inching closer to clinching the Pacific division. Joe scored 40 seconds in on a defensive breakdown by the Ducks, having all the time in the world to to put the puck over Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller. JR snuck one in behind Hiller on a 5-on-3 early in the 3rd, which was the difference maker. Evgeni "Evgeni" Nabokov had to make just 12 saves to get the win.

Roenick's goal was #13 on the year, and #508 for his career, 36th on the all-time goal scoring list. After the game, he was interviewed by everyone's least favorite sideline reporter (I'm not sure why everyone hates him, I don't think he's all that bad), John Schrader.

Now, on top of the huge ovation he got from the crowd before the interview started, and the peek of Joe Thornton naked for all the ladies to see, JR mentioned how he "loved to see the JR meter go up in the corner" which just happens to be up in the corner where I sit... hey, was he talking about me, the JR Meter keeper? Yes, it seems he was.

All season long I've kept the JR meter going, bringing signs to mark 3 additional goals from where he's already at. I've seen him motion a tip of the cap after every goal, and wasn't quite sure who it was directed to, just assuming it was to the entire crowd. Now, it sure seems like that gesture is directed towards me, the number-adder-onner-to-the-waller. That's pretty cool.

Friday's contest may have been just one game, but it was a huge breakthrough for the Teal, as they took on a short-handed Ducks squad and dismantled them. Anaheim, minus Snow White's forgotten dwarves Fluffy, Jerky, and Stompy (Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Corey Perry, and Chris Pronger, respectively), only lost by one goal, but was outshot by the Sharks 43-13. The Ducks attack was entirely shutdown, as they were held without a single shot in the 3rd period.

I'm willing to concede that Friday's game was just one game, but it certainly was a huge boost for the Sharks' confidence. The Teal now sit 6 points from clinching the Pacific Division title, while still trailing the Detroit Red Wings by 7 point for the President's Trophy and the #1 seed in the Western Conference. If the playoffs started today, the Sharks would take on the Vancouver Canucks, a team they swept the season series from. Unfortunately, the playoffs don't start today, so all that is up in the air.

After a weekend to rest, the Sharks will embark on a 3 games in 4 night venture, beginning Tuesday when they hit the desert ice to match up with the Phoenix Coyotes (7:30). The 'Yotes have had a great turnaround this season, as their youngsters came together, and Anaheim GM Brian Burke felt generous enough to give them Ilya Bryzgalov as a present for sucking so long. The Coyotes made a huge step in the right direction, and have a few prospects ready to emerge next year, probably to a playoff berth. The Sharks lead the season series 4-2, taking 2 of 3 played in both San Jose (4-1 on 11/10 and 5-0 on 11/12) and Phoenix (6-0 on 11/15 and 1-0 on 12/7). The Coyotes have won the last two, however, one in San Jose (3-2 SO on 12/20) and the other in Phoenix (5-3 on 1/15).

GO SHARKS (4 plz)

There be my JR meter, parked right on the wall of Section 213.

Friday, March 21, 2008

3/19/08 SHARKS 4, minnesota 3

Even when they win the shootouts, I hate 'em.

Ok, I lied. But I still don't like 'em.

Oh, and PLAYOFFS!!! (the Sharks officially clinched with the win)

Curtis Brown made his comeback noticeable, scoring a goal and adding an assist. Jeremy Roenick also had a pair of points, and Joe Pavelski added a goal as well. Evgeni Nabokov made 24 saves for the victory.

Even though the Sharks blew two 3rd period leads, they still came out on top, which is something they probably wouldn't have been able to do earlier in the year. The win is their 2nd straight, and 14th consecutive game with a point. Since losing 5 straight way back in mid-February, the Sharks have gone 13-0-1, amassing 27 points in that time, and skyrocketing from 6th in the West and 3rd in the Pacific to 2nd in the West and 1st in the Pacific.

Well folks, here it is. Tonight is the showdown, the Melee in San Jose, the Yank at the Tank. NorCal vs SoCal, 1st place vs 2nd place, the challengers vs the champions.

Tonight comes when we find out just how good a chance the Sharks have of going anywhere, when they host the Anaheim Ducks (7:30). Anaheim comes to town winners of their last 3, trailing the Sharks for 1st in the division by 5 points, having played one more than the Teal. The Ducks lead the series 5-1, taking 2 of 3 in Anaheim (3-2 SO on 11/9 and 4-3 OT on 1/13) and all 3 played in San Jose (2-1 SO on 11/17, 2-0 on 12/18, and 5-2 on 12/22). The lone Sharks win came on 12/16 with a 2-1 SO win.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

3/18/08 sharks 2, LOS ANGELES 1

Make that a 13 game point streak.

Despite the L on Sunday, the Teal got right back to their recent winning ways by squeaking one out tonight in So Cal. Joe Thornton notched #20 on the year, his 8th season reaching that total, and big time goal scorer Patrick Rissmiller supplied the other goal, his 8th this season. Speaking of #20, Mr. Ironman Evgeni Nabokov had the night off, so superstud backup Brian Boucher got the start. Boucher, in his second game as a Shark, made 29 saves for the win.

The win, coupled with a loss from 9th place Nashville, has dropped the Sharks magic number to 2. 2 is the number of points the Sharks need to gain in the standings (either from a win or a Nashville loss) to secure a spot in the playoffs should they lose the rest of their games and the Predators win all theirs. The Predators next game is Thursday vs Detroit.

The Sharks, on the other hand, return home from Staples for their final non-divisional matchup of the season, when they'll take on the Minnesota Wild (7:30). As crazy as the Pacific Division race is, the Northwest is that much more insane. The Wild sit in 1st, with 86 points. Behind them are Calgary, Colorado, and Vancouver, all with 84. Lurking in the distance is the recently streaking Edmonton Oilers with 79. To say this game doesn't lack importance for both teams would be slightly extremely incorrect. Minnesota comes to town winners of their last 2 after losing 5 straight before that. The Sharks lead the season series 3-0, taking both contests played in St. Paul (3-2 on 12/31 and 3-2 SO on 3/9) and the 1 previous game in San Jose (4-1 on 12/14).


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

3/16/08 edmonton 2, SHARKS 1 SO

Well hey, at least now we can talk about the 12 game point streak.

Patrick Marleau had the lone goal for the Teal, and Oilers Dwayne Roloson made a metric buttload of saves. It's not quite profound or wordy, but that's about it. The Sharks dominated this one, and the Edmonton netminder made a large amount of stops to keep his team in it til the skills competition, where they buried it. Evgeni Nabokov was strong as well, making 22 saves in the loss.

The streak is over, but that's about it. They're still atop the Pacific, they still have the second best record in the league, and they're still playing great hockey. There's 10 games left, and if they can win the key matchups, they'll still have the division and a #2 seed to take into the playoffs. Not too shabby.

The Sharks look to rebound from their first non-w of the Brian Campbell era on Tuesday when they head to LA to take on the Kings (7:30). The Kings have had a really bad year, despite bright spots on offense and in goal for the future. They're still a dangerous team on any given night, and of course could be spoilers. The Kings lead the season series 3-2, winning the three in San Jose (5-2 on 11/2, 2-1 on 11/24, and 3-2 SO on 11/28), while the Sharks have taken the pair played at Staples (3-1 on 11/3 and 3-2 on 12/26).

GO SHARKS (1 plz, let's start it over)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

3/14/08 SHARKS 4, st. louis 1

Yawn, another game, another win. What else is new?

The Sharks returned home from a perfect roadtrip last night looking to continue their 10 game win streak, and continue it they did. It took the Teal just 70 seconds to light the lamp, and then they added 3 more in 3:03 later in the 1st. Michalek had the first one, followed by goals from Jeremy Roenick, Brian Campbell, and Patrick Marleau. Joe Thornton regained the league lead in assists by notching two. All-Galaxy goalie Evgeni Nabokov made 20 saves for his league leading 41st victory.

There's not a whole lot to be said here, as it's all been said before, but I love seeing hockey at home. The fans are great, the building is great, even the ushers are great. As you may or may not know, I maintain the JR goal counter sign at the top of 213. I've had it all year long, and carry it in a big SVSE Merchandise plastic bag. Anyway, the ushers like to check bags to make sure I'm not smuggling video cameras or beer (priority in that order). Well, the usher who looked at my bag last night took one peek at my bag and said "Oh, you're the guy with the JR sign" and wished me a good game. So good to be home.

The Sharks will try to continue reaping the benefits of being home tomorrow when they host the Edmonton Oilers (5:00). The Oil have won 3 of 4, including 3 straight OT victories, strangely enough, all scored by rookie Andrew Cogliano. Unfortunately though, Edmonton is still having a crappy season, as they're sitting in 12th, but they are only 7 points out of a playoff spot. The Oil lead the season series 2-1, winning the lone game in SJ (3-2 on 2/14) and splitting in Edmonton (Oilers won 3-2 SO on 10/4, Sharks won 3-0 on 1/29).

GO SHARKS (12 Please)

On a side note, I start my new job with the San Jose SaberCats tonight as they host the hated Arizona Rattlers at 7:30. Come on down, see some arena football, see the Cats raise the championship banner and get a free trophy if you're among the first 7000 in the door. It's fun, it's cheap, and it's fun. GO CATS.

See, 11. The scoreboard says it, so it must be true.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

3/11/08 sharks 2, NASHVILLE 1

Its been a couple days, and it's still a little weird to look at that L10 in the standings and see the Sharks as 10-0-0. But I'll take it.

In yet another game that seemed like a playoff atmosphere, the Sharks eked it out, getting a goal from Milan Michalek, and another from Joe Pavelski's shin. Pavelski's goal was awarded after a lengthy review concluded that the biscuit just barely made it into the basket, however it may have gotten there. Evgeni Nabokov was solid in net again, making 26 saves in his league leading 40th victory.

Well folks, that's ten now. That's a lot. To think this all started with a 5 game losing streak including 3 effortless attempts to start the Eastern Roadtrip, not a bad turnaround. The real test, of course is the playoffs, as a ten game win streak means bupkis if you're not holding that silvery thing in June. Leading the division is great, but it's not a Cup.

The Sharks return home tomorrow looking for #11 when they face the St. Louis Blues (7:30). The Blues started out hot, and have since mildly imploded. They've lost 9 of their last 10, and come into SJ on a 4 game slide. The Sharks lead the season series 3-0, taking both contests in St. Louis (1-0 on 12/28 and 2-0 on 3/1) and the one played in SJ (4-1 on 1/24).


Monday, March 10, 2008

3/9/08 sharks 3, MINNESOTA 2 SO

It's becoming obvious to me now that the Sharks are getting bored winning games, so they're doing crazy things to make it exciting for them, us as Sharks fans, and the poor souls that cheer for the teams they face.

Captain Resurgent struck on both sides of the puck when the Teal needed it most yesterday, and it paid off. After giving up a lead on an impossible two-Shark pinball ricochet (worth 300,000,000 on replay), Patrick Marleau chose to backcheck on what began as a 2-on-1 for the Wild, swooping in as the Wild shot passed Nabokov, and swatted the netward bound puck out towards center ice, keeping the game going. After a Shootout Jesus (Joe Pavelski) goal, and a Cambell-ian spinorama from Pierre-Marc Bouchard tied the skills competition at 1, the Captain had the chance to win it, and win it he did, rifling a wrister past goaltender Niklas Backstrom. Evgeni "Who else" Nabokov made 21 saves for his league leading 39th victory.

The win is the Sharks 9th consecutive win, a franchise record, and the longest streak by any team in the league this season. For a brief time following the win yesterday, the Sharks did what just 3 weeks ago seemed the impossible, catching and passing the Dallas Stars for first place in the Pacific. The Sharks win put them at 88 points to the Stars 87, only to lose first place a couple hours later when the Stars shut out the Avalanche putting them at 89 points and back on top. I will introduce the "what the Stars and Ducks are doing" segment down at the bottom of each post.

The road trip wraps up tomorrow with a shot at 10 wins, but it won't come easy as the Sharks head to Nashville to face the Predators (5:00). The Predators have had a strange year. They lost big name guys (Forsberg, Hartnell, Kariya, Timonen, Vokoun) over the summer, almost lost their team too, but as soon as October rolled around, the Preds got right back to business, and are poised to make the playoffs for a 4th straight year. They enter tomorrow's game losers of 2 of their last 5, and their last two home contests. The Sharks lead the season series 3-0, taking both contests played in San Jose (3-0 on 10/20 and 4-3 on 2/9) and the one previous matchup in Music City (5-2 on 12/29).


Sunday, March 09, 2008

3/7/08 sharks 3, CHICAGO 2

For those of you keeping score at home, that's 8. Ties the franchise record, too.

In the presence of such original power forwards as Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita, Jonathan Cheechoo showed he's got a bit of that in him. Cheech netted #22, and the offense was aided by Kyle McLaren [3] and Patrick Marleau [14] who each added markers. Joe Thornton was his normal Joe Thorntony self, adding a pair of assists. Evgeni Nabokov was strong enough, stopping 17 shots in his league leading and franchise record 38th victory. The win was also #200 of Nabokov's career.

It was said that the Sharks could be a force this year, even when they were struggling in December and January. The only key was that they would need to get some scoring from Cheechoo and Marleau, because Thornton couldn't do it all himself (but he's sure as hell tried to). Well, over the past 6 weeks, both have finally brought their sticks to the rink, and the team has seen results. The Captain has 18 points in his last 22 games, while Cheechoo has 16 goals in the same time frame. Not too shabby. As of today's game, the Sharks sit 1 point out of 1st place in the Pacific, and a win today, coupled with an Avalanche win at Dallas, would see the Sharks back atop the division at day's end.

Speaking of today's game, the Sharks continue the road trip, and hope to continue the streak in Minnesota today, when they take on the Wild (1:00). The Sharks come to town riding an 8 game win streak, tying their franchise record, while the Wild come in as losers of their last 3. Both teams are firmly in the division race, with the Wild leading the Northwest, and the Sharks just one point back in the Pacific. The Sharks lead the season series 2-0, taking a game in each building (4-1 in San Jose on 12/14, and 3-2 in Minnesota on 12/31).

GO SHARKS (First place is in the sights)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

3/5/08 SHARKS 3, ottawa 2 OT

Heh. I could really get used to this winning thing.

A one goal deficit going into the 3rd Period proved to be no problem for the Teal, as they scored once to tie it up, and then again with just 3 minutes left to tie it again before winning it in OT. Patrick Marleau scored a pair of goals, including the Overtime winner, and Jonathan Cheechoo added the other goal for the Sharks, who have now won 7 straight. Evgeni Nabokov made 17 saves for his league leading 37th victory.

As mentioned above, the Sharks win is their 7th consecutive. Marleau's first goal was on the power play, extending their streak of PP goals to 5, scoring in every single game since trading for Brian Campbell. Once again, the red-haired defenseman had 26+ minutes. Soupy also had another assist, his 3rd consecutive game with a point, and his 5th point in 5 games. It is quite early still, but this trade isn't looking so bad right now.

After adding to the win streak with two home wins, the Sharks head back out on the road for a tough 3 game trip, beginning tomorrow night in Chicago against the Blackhawks (5:30). The Hawks have had a resurgent season, winners of their last 3, and 9 of their last 12. The Sharks have won all three games in the season series, taking both in San Jose (3-2 on 1/22 and 3-2 in the shootout on 2/2) and the lone game played in Chicago (2-1 on 10/10).

GO SHARKS ('Ey, gimme a clean sweep ovah heah [end bad Chicago accent])

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

3/3/08 SHARKS 6, montreal 4

Best. Game. Ever. This year.

Joe Thornton had 4 points (2G, 2A) against his old nemesis in the East, leading the way for the Sharks. Jonathan Cheechoo, Patrick Marleau, and Jody Shelley also had markers, but it was Brian Campbell's spin-o-rama that stole and sealed the show. With just a couple minutes remaining, Campbell recieved a pass as he entered the offensive zone. Faking to his left and spinning to his right, Mike Komisarek provided a nice look at what it would be like if he was a 6 foot tall traffic cone. Aided by the Sharks highest offensive output of the year (they scored 6 in November @ Phoenix), Evgeni Nabokov earned his league leading 36th win by stopping 27 shots.

Ok, so the officiating was the worst ever seen, each team's defense was porous, and the goaltending was pretty less-than-standard, but the game was by far the most entertaining game I've been to all year. Almost every goal was of the highlight reel variety, and it really kept the crowd in it. Neither team gave up nor did their fans, creating an awesome playoff like atmosphere at one of the louder buildings in the NHL.

The win is the Sharks 6th consecutive, bringing Brian Campbell's record as a Shark to 4-0, and also marking the 4th consecutive game with a PP goal. Usually, the first game back from a long roadtrip, regardless of the team, is a tough game to win. After getting back in the swing of home things, getting to sleep comfortably in your own bed and be with your family in a much better atmosphere, going out and playing a hockey game isn't always the most exciting prospect. But, apparently it was exciting enough, as the Sharks came out, striking early and often, scoring 56 seconds in and pressuring all the way to just under 100 seconds left. The effort and the passion shown by the Teal last night was just plain impressive, but now they gotta keep that up.

The brief homestand concludes tonight, when the defending Eastern Conference Champion Ottawa Senators come to town (7:30). Ottawa has lost 4 of 5, including dropping the Stanley Cup Finals rematch to the Ducks in Anaheim on Monday. They sit just one point back of the Canadiens for 1st in the Northeast Division. Like the Canadiens, the last meeting between these teams was the 2005-2006 season, when the Sharks beat the hometown Senators 2-0.

GO SHARKS (Lost my voice on Monday, wouldn't mind losing it again tonight)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

3/1/08 sharks 2, ST. LOUIS 0

Evgeni who?

Brian Campbell was the big acquisition at the deadline for the Teal, and had an assist in 26 minutes of ice time, but it was the other, lesser valued deadline pickup that stole the show, and the two points last night. Brian Boucher made 24 saves in his first appearance as a Shark, shutting down the Blues, and really should just retire now so he can go out on top. Joe Pavelski scored in his second straight game, Mike Grier scored a short-handed goal, the aforementioned Boucher (not to be confused with the Waterboy's Bobby Boucher), and a strong defensive effort by the Sharks.

Its over, it's finally over. 17 days, 8 games, and, most remarkably, 5 wins. When this trip began, the glitz and glamor of New York clearly got to the Sharks, as they dropped contests at MSG, Long Island, and Newark by scores of 3-1, 3-2, and 3-2, respectively. But when they got to the land of the almighty cheesesteak, stuff started to turn. A 3-1 win in Philly turned the tide ever so slightly, and the 2-1 shootout victory in Pittsburgh where all three shooters scored really started to sway things. The deadline came and went, Brian Campbell came in while Steve Bernier went. The roll continued in Columbus when they overcame the Hitchcock trap and pulled off a 4-2 win over the Jackets. Never friendly Joe Louis provided some helpful bounces, and a bit of a shocking 3-2 win over the Wings. And last but not least, the Gateway City welcomed the Teal, who, like I requested yesterday, wrapped the trip up in style, by rolling out the new backup netminder, and getting a shutout anyway, 2-0 over the Blues.

At the start of this trip, it was said this schedule would make or break the Sharks, and, with all 8 games now completed, it seems that it has broken anything. The Sharks scored first in all 8 games on this trip, and come home with a 3 game goal streak on the power play, after reaching a horrible 1-for-30 stretch. We've seen that they can get their stuff together, but the real test will come in the next few weeks, when they take on two of the squads they'll probably have to defeat to get the Cup, the Stars and the Ducks. With just 17 games left, now is the time to get hot, and, at least on the road, they've busted the mercury. It's home that's been difficult all year, and now is when they need to capitalize.

The Sharks finally return to 525 W. Santa Clara, where they will entertain Eastern Canada. First, on Monday, when the Montreal Canadiens come to town (7:30, boy that feels nice to type). The Habs are habing (get it?) a great season, currently leading the Northeast division by a point over Ottawa. Montreal comes to San Jose on a 3 game winning streak, and will pull the California Swing in reverse, playing the Sharks first, and then heading to LA and Anaheim after a stop in Phoenix. The last meeting between the teams was Joe Thornton's second as a Shark, when the lowly Canadiens beat the Sharks in Montreal 6-2. The Habs have offense, the Sharks have defense. Somebody's gotta pull both together for the win. I think.

GO SHARKS (they actually get to play at home?)

JR getting the love, even in the Lou.

The Boucher following his first start, a very pretty shutout.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

2/29/08 sharks 3, DETROIT 2

They say weird stuff happens on leap day. Guess they were right.

Devin Setoguchi made his return to the Sharks roster in style last night, burying a pair of goals past Grandpa Snowangel himself, Dominik Hasek. Joe Pavelski added one as well, and Patrick Marleau had a pair of assists in another strong effort by the Sharks, in a building where wins have been scarce. The win, the fourth consecutive victory for the Teal, was just their fourth regular season win at Joe Louis Arena in 31 tries, a tough place to win a game for any visiting squad. Evgeni Nabokov was strong when he needed to be, making 20 saves, tying him for the league lead in wins with 35.

Setoguchi had two goals last night, that much is undeniable. However, what is greatly disputed, is that the second tally was legitimate, and should have counted. While on the power play, a point shot was deflected up and over Hasek and appeared to bounce off the protective netting behind the goal. Now, the Wings on the ice didn't see this, neither did the Sharks, and apparently neither did any of the four on-ice officials. Rule 85.1 (someone else looked this up, I'm not this good) states that in a situation like this, when no linesman or referee sees the puck strike the net, play shall continue, because no whistle has blown. No linesman or referee saw the puck strike the net apparently, so play continued, because no whistle blew, and the puck ricochetted right to Setoguchi who put the puck in the net. It wasn't until after the play that complaints started to come from the bench and the stands, funny because the Wings on the ice didn't see it, but somehow that didn't keep them from complaining. Still counted though. Yay for the Sharks.

The Joe was just as I remembered, cramped concourses, cramped seats, and not exactly a haven for visiting fans. If it wasn't for my #7 Larionov jersey (thanks to my dad for loaning it to me), I probably would not have gotten out alive. Struck some good conversations with Wings fans who had forgotten or never knew that ole Igor was a Shark. Told them the brief history of Igor and the Ov line (Johan Garpenlov, Igor Larionov, Sergei Makarov), and that was that.

With the toughest contest over (regardless of record, the Joe is never easy to get 2 points from), the Sharks wrap up the 8 game, 17 day roadtrip tonight in St. Louis when they take on the Blues (5:30). The Blues, resurgent at season's start, have seem to have packed it in a bit early. Losers of their last 5, St. Louis traded defenseman Bryce Salvador at the deadline for enforcer Cam Janssen, in what was seen to be more of a "sellers" move. The Sharks lead the season series 2-0, winning 1-0 in St. Louis on 12/28, and 4-1 in San Jose on 1/24.

GO SHARKS (wrap this thing up in style)

Boucher, french for "I will actually get to play in goal, eventually."

Campbell, canadian for "soup".

Gordie Howe statue, statuese for "really great hockey player who played a lot of hockey games".