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No Shadow Yet
It's deju vu all over again?
4/22/11 - By Ken Smyth -

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 Thursday night.

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.

Other Notes-

-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.

Keep 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 close choice.

-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.

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