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.