Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Sharks Answering When It Matters, Up 2-0

Mission accomplished. The San Jose Sharks did what they were supposed to do on Sunday by winning on their home ice for the second time in this series and leading the best of 7 series against the Detroit Red Wings 2-0.

This was a total team effort that saw both teams gather momentum throughout the game. For the second time in this series and 5th game in a row, the Sharks came out firing, but this time only to be let down by a Red Wing goal midway through the 1st period.

But the Sharks showed something that we have not seen in playoffs past, but have seen several times already in this year's playoffs. That is a will to answer right back. The Sharks would answer with 2 goals in just over 2 minutes to go up 2-1.

The Red Wings would tack on another goal late in the 1st period to tie the game up at 2-2.

After a stalemate 2nd period, which saw the Red Wings hit the back of the net a 3rd time, pressure was on the Sharks to maintain their home ice against the mighty Red Wings. And they answered.

It is often the saying that it doesn't matter how you start, but how you finish, and the Sharks finished this one with emphasis.

They took to the offensive early and often in the 3rd period, and it payed off with a power play goal by that man again, Joe Pavelski, at 4:40. But they weren't done.

After both teams threatened midway through the 3rd, the Sharks had a 2 on 1 breakaway at 12:37 where Dany Heatley wristed a shot at goalie Jimmy Howard which bounced off Howard's chest and in front of the net to be tapped in by Joe Thornton. 4-3.

After that, persistent and pesky defense all but sealed it up for the Sharks as they took the first two games of the series at home.

No doubt, the Sharks have surprised many with how much they have continued to improve their game throughout these playoffs, and how not affected they are by recent disappointing seasons, which many thought they would. The consensus before this series was the Red Wings are too disciplined, too experienced, and too good for these underachieving Sharks. But looking at these first two games of this series, we haven't seen any of that. The Sharks' defense is playing great, their 2nd tier players are contributing more than the 1st tier, and their goalie is hot right now. The Sharks are peaking at just the right time.

Now, we will see if this carries over to Hockeytown. But the way the Sharks are feeling about their game right now is business as usual, the perfect attitude. They understand what they are doing is large, but they also understand that they belong somewhere further in these playoffs, and that they are by no means done. With the 1st line starting to sprout legs and walk, maybe this could be the start of something that the Bay Area hasn't seen before with this team.

All the pieces are there, but can they continue. It will be a real test in Detroit, but pulling out one win over there would be huge, the question is can they get that win?

The goal I set for this team so far in this series is win at home. Check. Next goal, take at least 1 of 2 from Detroit in Detroit.

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