Friday, April 30, 2010

Sharks Come Out Firing, Get Game 1 Win

Is there any argument as to a better start to the series for the San Jose Sharks? The Sharks defeated the Detroit Red Wings at The Tank last night by a final of 4-3, giving them a 1-0 series lead.

Coming into the game, it seemed to be a nation-wide consensus that the #1 seeded Sharks appeared to be the underdog in this series, given their history in the playoffs and the way the Red Wings are playing right now.

But for a stretch of 1:19 in the 1st period, the Sharks looked and played like a favorite as they scored 3 goals in that span. This included another goal from that man again, Joe Pavelski, who is quickly losing his nickname of "Little Joe", and adding the "Big Pavelski" to his assortment of names. He would finish with 2 goals and an assist, including the deciding goal on a 5 on 3 powerplay at the start of the 3rd period.

But back to the jaw-dropping 1st period. For that 1st period, mostly the 1:19, the Sharks looked unstoppable like a team that was prepared, like a team that is the #1 seed in the playoffs, like a team that belongs there.

But you didn't think that would last long, did you? I sure did. Maybe that was what I wanted to happen or maybe that was because of what should have happened, but looking back, there was no way the Red Wings were going to throw in the towel after that 1:19. It would have been nice, but just simply was not going to happen. They are too good of a team for that, and don't expect in any of the other games in this series.

The Red Wings quickly rebounded and put up 2 goals before heading into the 2nd intermission. But back to the Big Pavelski, who again proved he is the best player going on this Sharks team, at least for these 2010 playoffs. He scored on that same 5 on 3 power play and the Sharks had another multi-goal lead. But you didn't think that would last did you? Well I did...again. The Red Wings would score another goal within minutes of Pavelski's goal, and the game was on yet again.

After that, it was a race to the finish, and the finish seemed like forever if you were a Sharks fan. The Sharks seemed to fall back on their aggressiveness in the 3rd and hoped to win by scoring those 4 goals, or so it appeared. But the defense kicked in and Evgeni Nabokov made clutch saves as the Sharks were able to hold off the Wings and get the win.

Although the Sharks won this game, the impression was evident that the Red Wings were the better team, except for that 1:19 of the 1st period. Give it up for the Sharks, though. They came out firing, and that payed off. The Wings were caught off-guard and were not able to stop the Sharks, whose 1st line finally showed up. That was one of the keys to this series, wasn't it? The 1st line? Dany Heatley had a goal and Joe Thornton made his first contribution to the 2010 NHL Playoffs with an assist. All this minus Patrick Marleau, who should be ready for Sunday's Game 2.

The Sharks got Game 1, but there is no doubt this series will go the distance. First priority for the Sharks: Come out with the same fire, and win Game 2 on home ice.

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