| Most important
Game 7 may very well be the most important Sharks game
Tuesday night's contest is a big game for the San
Jose Sharks. In fact, it just might be the biggest game in the team's history.
The Sharks have won Game 7's before. They've even won conference semi-final
series before as well. But that's where the Sharks legacy ends. The Sharks have
played in the Western Conference Finals three times in their history, falling
to the Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks. On Tuesday
night, they will either extend their run to the Stanley Cup Finals, or once
again become a stepping stone for another team's glory.
If the Sharks
can overcome the Kings home ice advantage on Tuesday night, they will square
off against the Blackhawks or the Detroit Red Wings in the Conference Finals.
With Chicago and Detroit playing in their own Game 7 later this week, no team
has the advantage of rest. Everyone has had to extend themselves to advance,
which means that the Sharks don't have the disadvantage of having to play a
rested opponent, which was the case in 2011, after they were forced to play a
6-game series in the quarter finals and a 7 game series in the semi-finals.
It's no secret that the Sharks would prefer to play the Red Wings.
Chicago has had their number the last two seasons, and they were built to beat
the Red Wings. That's all dependent however on how they deal with the Kings in
To do that, they'll need to get out to a good start.
The team that's scored first has won every game between the two teams this
season, playoffs and regular season. They can't sit back and try to weather the
storm in the opening 20 minutes like they did in Game 5. The Kings took it to
them and ended up walking away with a 3-0 victory.
The Sharks need to
turn the tables on this series and be the first team to win on the road, or
it's curtains for San Jose. Get through this round and the Sharks will be on an
even playing field. If Detroit makes it past Chicago, San Jose will even have
home ice advantage for the Conference Finals.
Knocking off the
defending Stanley Cup Champion also has some cache to it. Win on Tuesday and
they'll have done that. Win on Tuesday and they actually get an extra day's
rest, because Detroit and Chicago battle it out on Wednesday.
Kings are expecting to win, which is also a big advantage for San Jose. If they
can come out swinging, and punch them in the mouth, they would disrupt what
more than a few in the Kings lineup likely expect. Hopefully that's the
youthful exuberance of the Kings speaking.
Game 7 experience isn't exactly a commodity in Los
Angeles. That's driven by the fact that the Kings are a relatively young team
and the fact that Los Angeles hasn't exactly been a playoff mainstay in the
West. San Jose on the other had has tons of Game 7 credentials. Hopefully that
experience will pay dividends for San Jose.
They do however, know how
to win. They provide that last year. I've been saying all year that the Sharks
find success when they don't let up. Tuesday night will be the biggest test of
that philosophy. Take their foot of the gas and the Kings will exploit them.
The Sharks need 60 minutes of unadulterated fire belly hockey. No
taking shifts off. No assuming someone else will do the job.
all, it's only the most important game in franchise history.
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