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Faith restored
Win over Ducks keeps Sharks in contention
12/18/06 - By Paul Krill

Saturday's 4 to 3 win over Anaheim was the most important victory of the year. Why? Because it saves the season. After the 5-0 debacle in Orange County on November 21, questions arose over whether the Sharks could beat Anaheim, at least in my mind.

By winning on Saturday, the Sharks answered these questions. The Sharks needed to win in regulation and deprive Anaheim of any points at all. Stealing the game after trailing 2-0 hopefully will shake Anaheim's confidence as well.

Let's face it - the road to the Stanley Cup is probably going to have to go through Anaheim, where local fans have sold out a grand total of three home games out of 19 for the team with the best record in hockey.

Now, we know the Sharks are up to the task. What good would the season be if the Sharks could pound on all opponents except one?

Saturday's game was interesting to say the least. Who didn't see the match slipping away when the Sharks went down 2-0 on a fluke goal? Then, the Mark Bell fight actually seemed to draw the Sharks back into the game.

FWIW, Mike Grier's performance demonstrated how someone whose name doesn’t show up in the scoring summary can nonetheless be the most important player in the game. His three breakaways, while they didn't result in any goals, made a mockery of the Ducks' vaunted power play and defense. The last one drew the game-clinching power play for the Sharks.

Even though Grier had no goals and no assists, would the Sharks have won without him? Not a chance.

By dispatching the Ducks on Saturday, the Sharks have shown they can be more than just the runner-up in the Western Conference. And the Stanley Cup dream remains very much alive.

…Penalty shots…

What's with this schedule? Six games in 10 days and then no games for five days? Is this all related to arena availability?...Ironically, the arena schedule has been clear of Sharks games during recent cold spells, when the usually bad San Jose ice theoretically would be helped by the dropping temperatures. Outside of the Shark Tank on Monday morning, it seemed genuinely cold…Scott Niedermeyer left New Jersey, a championship-caliber team that can't sell out its games, to go to Anaheim, a championship-caliber team that can't sell out its games. Anybody see a pattern developing here? He could have been greeted with sellout crowds had he signed with the Sharks before last season...

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