Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sharks Get Huge Win in OT

How nerve-racking was that? Knowing that the Sharks were down 2-1 in the series, knowing that rarely do teams come back from a 3-1 deficit, and knowing how well Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson was playing, how could you not?

The San Jose Sharks beat the Avalanche in overtime in Game 4 last night, evening the series and heading back to the Bay Area with a sigh of relief. Joe Pavelski scored top shelf on the goalie Anderson in overtime, the only puck that had got past Anderson since the first minute of the 1st period.

Seeing how well the Sharks have played in these last three games, it is about time they come out with a win, and this one is a big one.

But the big story was Dan Boyle. 48 hours after his blunder in Game 3, which after further video review was not his blunder at all, Boyle scored in the first minute of the 1st period to put the Sharks up 1-0. Sweet relief for Boyle who was visibly down on himself for the past 48 hours. Also, sweet relief for the Sharks as they went 0-6 on the power play in Game 3, but scored on the power play in the first minute.

Boyle's goal would fuel the Sharks for the rest of the period as they were no doubt the better team in the 1st period. They were playing like they had played during the games before, except this time they got some points for their effort. The Sharks were scrappy on defense, they got to every puck, and the Avs had no chance on any of their shots taken on Evgeni Nabokov.

The 2nd period was a different story. The Avs came out firing on all cylinders and the Sharks were put on the defensive. Avalanche center Paul Stastny scored on the power play at 3:27 and the game was tied.

The Sharks looked tired walking into the dressing room after the 2nd period and to top it off, Anderson looked like he was at the top of his game yet again. But it felt like equal momentum for both sides as they went into the 3rd period.

Dany Heatley, who sat out Game 3, was visibly tired and not 100% throughout the game, and it showed in the 3rd period. Anderson for the Avs continued to stop everything in sight and the Avs were quicker than the Sharks who seemed to be praying for the dressing room down the stretch of the 3rd.

The game went to overtime and after brilliant saves by both goaltenders throughout the first half of the period, Pavelski finally scored on a lightning fast wrister that sailed top-shelf on Anderson giving the Sharks the win.

You can argue that the Sharks got away with one here, but after all this team has been through in this series, the Sharks will take whatever they can get. In my opinion, the Avs won 2 of the 3 periods, with the overtime period going to the Sharks. Anderson played the way he has played since the start of Game 3 and grabbed 43 saves, some standing on his head. Nabby grabbed 33 saves as well and he continues to be reliable in these playoffs for the Sharks.

This win was much needed for the Sharks and now they return back to San Jose with the home-ice advantage and will be welcomed with open arms in the HP Pavilion.

A couple things need to happen for the Sharks. Heatley needs to get healthy. Even though he played no part on the power play last night, he is a key part to the success of the Sharks getting the puck in the back of the net. Had they had him on the ice in Game 3, we'd be talking about a 3-1 lead for the Sharks. Also, where is Patrick Marleau and the rest of the Canadian National Team's 1st line? They've disappeared. Maybe the rest of the Sharks team is good enough to pull them through, but the 1st line is supposed to be the cornerstone of this team, and they have not shown up in this series.

Game 5 in San Jose at the HP Pavilion on Thursday, 7:30p.m.

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