Thursday, April 15, 2010

Avalanche Take an Early Bite Out of the Sharks

I could have sworn I was watching a Ducks/Sharks game from the first round of the 2009 NHL Playoffs last night. That's how it felt. The San Jose Sharks lost last night to the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 when Avalanche winger Chris Stewart scored off of Rob Blake's skate with a little less than 50 seconds left in the game.

Is this 2009 and before all over again? Probably not, at least I'm not going to say that out loud. Bottom line was the Avalanche defense came to play last night, and the Sharks offense couldn't put the puck in the net. That's it, don't overthink it. In the playoffs, every team brings it every night. That is why it is called the 2nd season. Teams like the Avalanche, who many predicted would not be in this position, have nothing to lose, so they play their hearts out. The Sharks were a victim of that last night.

Sharks fans should be bummed about this, though. After all, the Sharks are the #1 seed playing a team that could not be a more better match-up for them. The Sharks are stronger, bigger, quicker, and more experienced. Then how come they lost so convincingly last night? Sure, the Sharks lost by just one goal, all be it a goal that was scored with 50 seconds left. But the Sharks were a Ryan Clowe "excuse me" goal away from being shut-out.

Credit Evgeni Nabokov with continuing his hot play and stopping 28 shots. But credit Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson even more for stopping all of the weak shots sent his way by the Sharks' offense. The Sharks couldn't get a good opportunity at the goal, and when they did, they couldn't execute it.

The Sharks had 26 shots on net and that is unacceptable for a team that boasts Heatley-Marleau-Thornton. Where were they? They got shots to the net with 8 shots altogether, but none went in, and that seems to be what counts.

Maybe this was a case of a little playoff jitters, or maybe it wasn't, but the the Sharks played last night like they belonged there, when in fact the scoreboard would say otherwise. The Sharks need to play like they are not the #1 seed, because in the playoffs it doesn't matter. As the Sharks franchise knows all too well.

The only thing you can say is tomorrow is another day. I'm not going to call the game on Friday a "must-win," but it would be highly advised.


  1. I don't think this game compares to the Anaheim series meltdown from a year ago - not even close. The Sharks came out ready to play this year, could/should have scored on their many chances with an out-of-position Anderson on many of their chances but didn't. The huge difference this year compared to last year was the heart and drive everyone had. Last year, the team looked flat and were coasting. This year, every line wasp laying every shift hard. Even Joe went to the net! That never happens!

    I think the Sharks are fine - you can't win every game in the playoffs, even if you are the number one seed playing the number eight seed. Stop freaking out and STOP comparing this to last year's series. Out of the four games played last night, only one of the higher seeds won their game. You have to expect every series to go to seven games.

  2. It felt like a Sharks/Ducks game because of the lack of offense and dumb mistakes. No one is freaking out, i was just not expecting the Sharks to come out like that in the first game and post 1 goal all night. Even one that was as awkward as Ryan Clowe's.

    I still feel the Sharks will win this series, no doubt, especially the way Nabby is playing. But the lack of contribution from the 1st-line surprised me.

    No one is panicking, i just expected more.