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It's Real, Again
Time for Sharks to shine
5/30/16 - By Ken Smyth -

On April 26, 1994, over 22 years ago, the San Jose Sharks beat the Detroit Red Wings 6-4 in game 5 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal to send that series back to Detroit with the Sharks leading the series 3-2. Johan Garpenlov put the game winner past Bob Essensa at 8:08 of the third period and the Shark Tank was nuts. Our new team was finally for real. That was the high point of playoff game elation in San Jose until last Thursday's win over St. Louis sent the Sharks to the Stanley Cup Finals. But finally the feeling is real, again.

People who've dropped away over the years were back in teal and back in the Tank, including some former LGS and Bottom Feeder forum die-hards. Like any big family on a happy occasion, all those who were lost are taken back in to the fold, and all who want to join are welcomed. The dried mud of playoff frustrations were washed away by a river of good feeling. All of us now here with the finals about to start.

How will the Sharks do against the Pittsburgh Penguins? The Sharks are media darlings again, first-time-in-the-Finals is a good story, so naturally the eastern media seems to favor them. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are never ones for chatty interviews and the Canadians are still mad at Phil Kessel. Before we fall too in love with the words, remember that six weeks ago these people expected this Final series to be between the Washington Capitals and the Blackhawks or Kings.

The Sharks and Penguins both can roll four legitimate lines capable of moving the puck, and good goaltending. Well, YES, this is the finals. The Sharks have six strong and healthy defensemen, the Penguins have Kris Letang but are missing Trevor Daley.

Pittsburgh gets an edge in the forward lines, perhaps; but the Sharks have Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic on separate shifts on the blue line to cover them. Having two top class defensive pairs is a plus, we all saw how the Sharks wore down top defensemen like Drew Doughty and Kevin Shattenkirk as a series wore on.

Both teams scored key goals on the power play in the playoffs. Both teams can look stunning or stupid on penalty kills. Neither has a bonehead who draws dumb penalties. I'm looking forward to great hockey on both sides. My real wish is for the Sharks to win in four straight, but I'll settle for seven. GO SHARKS!

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