| 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 doesnt
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.
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...
Contact Paul at at email@example.com
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