| No Shadow Yet
It's deju vu all over again?
Two things went through my mind watching the
Sharks lose 4-0 to the Kings last Saturday. One: did Alex Smith give the
pre-game pep talk? Two: here we go again, again. Seeing the Kings take a 4-0
lead early in the second period on Tuesday seemed to make it officially
Groundhog Day 2011.
I was starting to again hear the post game talk
with Joe Thornton saying "we have to [blank]" and "we can't let them keep
[another blank]" right after that fourth goal. But the Sharks kicked it up
three gears and came back to take the game 6-5 in overtime, flattening the
Kings in a packed Staples Center.
"Back in Black" went from their
marketing slogan to their state of mind. Now the Kings get to think up excuses
for a game they let get away, very nice.
The Kings are a young team
and probably thought the game and series won with the fourth goal, not a bad
guess based on the Sharks' history. Their question for game 5 is whether the
players return to coach Terry Murray's defense moves the offense approach or
they scramble around trying to individually make amends for Tuesday and
For the Sharks it's the same question. The Kings
without Anze Kopitar rely more on their defensemen to push the play. If the
Sharks can draw them into a skating contest the Kings are at a disadvantage. If
the Sharks play tentative and keep trying to score on Jonathan Quick with shots
from the blueline, Thursday's game won't be much fun for Sharks' fans.
-Strange mystery is which Dan Boyle will
appear on a shift. Dan Boyle and Niclas Wallin played pretty badly in the
opening twenty some minutes but came back and played well for the rest of the
game. Coach Todd McLellan seemed to keep Wallin on the bench a bit more as the
game went on not wanting to press his luck, but he picked up two assists
including one on the winning goal in OT.
- Goaltending- Antti Niemi isn't the most
disappointing goaltender in the playoffs so far; Ilya Bryzgalov (Phoenix) and
Sergei Bobrovsky (Philadelphia) are in the lead for that honor. At least
Niemi's won a game. Still, the muffed saves early Tuesday brought in a very,
very well-rested Antero Nittymaki to finish and bag the win.
remembering that Niemi won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks last year as a
rookie, as Doug Wilson does everytime he thinks about that contract. As for who
starts game 4, I'd go with Nitty just to mess with their minds in LA but it's a
-Congratulations to the Detroit Red Wings for their
sweep of the Phoenix Coyotes, here's hoping the Wings spend a LOT of time on
the golf course over the next few days waiting for their next opponent,
probably the winner of the Sharks/Kings series.
at at Kenin210@eudoramail.com
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