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It had to end sooner or later
Musings on the Sharks' 8-game winning streak and other things
3/6/11 - By Paul Krill -

Well, we knew the Sharks were not going to win every game for the rest of the year. They were on an eight-game winning streak and had not lost in weeks. But they had to lose eventually. Unfortunately, it had to happen against the loathsome Dallas Stars this past Saturday night.

But this Sharks team looks to be doing the opposite of what the 2008-09 President's Trophy-winning team did. Instead of starting out great and getting worse as the season wore on, this year's team started out sputtering and appears to be getting better and better. Let's hope they don't peak too early. Peaking around mid-June would be nice.

The Sharks this season have made some great strides: Taking three of four from the even-more-loathsome Detroit Red Wings, shootout victories, five- and now eight-game winning streaks. Still, the Western Conference is so tight that the Sharks just can't let the foot off the gas. They'll need to keep up the good work or, conceivably, they still could find themselves on the outside looking in at playoff time, although that scenario doesn't appear too likely at this juncture.

While it seems like we just put our Christmas trees away yesterday, we're now only about five weeks or so till the playoffs begin. It doesn't matter who the Sharks face in the post-season, though, since at this point in time they are capable of beating anybody. They won't need another team to knock off a potentially troublesome opponent since the Sharks can do that themselves.


* Can't help but wonder if there is an unfortunate connection between the injury to Sharks' goalie-in-waiting Alex Stalock and the four-year extension just given to current starter Antti Niemi. While Niemi has been playing great, I hope this contract extension doesn't signal that Stalock is in for a long, long recovery from his recent leg injury.

* Apparently, shootout victories are subtracted from win totals when it comes to tie-breakers. Hopefully, the Sharks won't need to rely on any tie-breakers for playoff positioning.

* The Sharks' good fortunes began with a post-All Star Weekend comeback against Phoenix. The Sharks looked so bad early in that February 1 game but ended up winning on Patrick Marleau's shorthanded goal, a couple hours after he was honored for his 1,000th game. That's what NHL entertainment is all about.

* Been looking at some YouTube videos of nonexistent crowds at Atlanta Thrashers and Phoenix Coyotes games. Actual attendance looked much less than the 50-percent-or-so capacity official numbers. Now both teams, despite playing in major US markets, could be on their way to places such as Winnipeg and Quebec City. The NHL's expansion magic weaved in San Jose, with years and years of sellouts, just hasn't happened in many other newer NHL cities.

* Had a dream the other night that the Sharks made it to the Stanley Cup Finals. But I woke up disappointed to realize it was all just a dream. At least for now.

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