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Three Sharks Teams in the Same Game
Which one will show up for Game 2 and beyond?
4/18/14 - By Paul Krill -

For a while, Game 1 was everything a Sharks fan could dream of. The Sharks were pummeling the Kings, who looked more like a minor league team out there. Did anybody think the Sharks would run up a 5-0 lead, including two goals very late in the first period? Everybody was getting into the act: Raffi Torres, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Marc-Eduoard Vlasic and, with his first career playoff goal, Tomas Hertl. Through the first two periods, the Sharks looked invincible. Kings star goalie Jonathan Quick was chased.

Then, bad habits took over. The Sharks spent most of the third period in their own end watching the Kings control the puck. That once-gigantic lead suddenly dwindled to only 5-3 before Brent Burns put the puck in the empty net via a long distance shot, sealing a 6-3 victory.

What we saw were three Sharks teams in the same game. The dominant first period Sharks, if we can get that team again, will win the Stanley Cup. The second-period Sharks, not quite as dominant as the first period team, has a good chance to contend for a long playoff run. The third-period Sharks? Well, if they return, the Sharks will finish out their season next Saturday in San Jose and lose this series to the Kings in five games.

We've all heard for years about how the Sharks can't get it done in the playoffs and of course we haven't really seen much evidence to contradict this. But if we can ice that first-period team again, those statements about Sharks playoff failures might finally be obsolete.

The Sharks, of course, absolutely cannot rely on racking up early 5-0 leads and staving off a desperate opponent in the third period. Kudos to the Kings for making a game of it and not figuring Game 1 was already a lost cause after the second period. Without some good saves by Sharks goalie Antti Niemi in the third period, the Sharks might have actually lost the game in historically humiliating fashion.

Now, the Sharks are going to have to bring back that first period team to make this playoff run a long one.

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