Wednesday, April 16, 2008

4/15/08 WCQF #4 sharks 3, CALGARY 2

BEST. CALL. EVAR. (sequence begins at 1:40)

Well, hey, that was kinda nice. For once, a team suffers a heartbreaking loss in the playoffs, and its not the Sharks.

Ryane Clowe continued his hot streak, netting his 4th of the playoffs, Patrick Marleau played like a captain and a leader for the fourth consecutive game, and Joe Thornton stuck a foot in the mouths of many hockey analysts, professional and self-proclaimed.

Jarome Iginla kicked things off for the Flames in Game 4 much the way Game 3 ended, by wristing a rebound past a disheveled Sharks defense and a screened Evgeni Nabokov. Ryane Clowe tied things up at 1 midway through the second with a wrister from up top that found its way past a screened Miikka Kiprusoff (a theme). A Dion Phaneuf shot got past Nabokov with just a little more than a minute left in the 2nd, and it was then that it just seemed over, that the Flames were just overmatching the Sharks.

Boy was I wrong.

The 3rd period came along, and you could just see the Flames wanting, wishing, hoping the clock would magically read 0:00. Head Coach Mike Keenan kept looking up, Iginla kept looking up, Kiprusoff kept looking up, the fans behind the benches kept looking up. Everyone wanted it to be over, however, they weren't exactly thrilled with how it ended.

Jonathan Cheechoo picked a perfect corner over Kipprusoff's shoulder that just found its way into the net, a play that started with great work down low from rookie Devin Setoguchi, playing in his first career NHL playoff game.

I was happy it was tied, but dreading what seemed to be inevitable. So many times, the Sharks make a strong effort to tie the game, only to be beaten as the last seconds tick off, leaving in heartbreak, and pretty much packing it in for the year. Last night, it was real nice to see Joe Thornton play Moses, tipping that puck home split the Sea of Red faster than well, something really fast. I'm not into the whole seeing people suffer fetish, but it was just amazing to see someone else have to feel the heartbreak I've felt oh so much in recent years.

Yeah, its a bit overblown because it is only Game 4, but hey, consider the flipside. The Sharks lose Game 4, they come back to San Jose down 3-1, needing to win 3 straight against Calgary. Probably not gonna happen. As it stands now, they need to win 2 of 3, and they get the noise, the crowd, the familiarity with their surroundings for two of them. I'd rather have that one.

Game 5 is tomorrow, and at this point, could go either way. We saw how the Sharks responded to choking away Game 3, and that they have some guts and grit inside them. Now we get to see how the Flames respond to the same situation, choking away Game 4 in heartbreaking fashion and having to face the opponent in their house while trying to win.

Should be yet another dandy.



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