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.


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