Saturday, February 5, 2011

Boston Can't Stop Surging Sharks

If the San Jose Sharks weren't regarded as one of the hottest teams in the NHL yesterday, then they will be today. The Sharks shut-out the Boston Bruins in Boston on Saturday, giving them an 8-game point streak and winners of 7 of 8.

It seems like things are finally picking up for the Sharks. After a disappointing 1st half of the season that Sharks fans hadn't seen in years, the team has turned it around in the 2nd half. San Jose just isn't used to it, and neither is the Sharks front office. Just a few games after GM Doug Wilson called out his team's effort on the ice, the Sharks have since been nearly unbeatable. They are controlling the game and have kicked up the energy on both offense and defense since the All-Star break.

The win against Boston, one of the elites in the East, on Saturday solidified the Sharks as one of the hotter teams in the league, and they are doing it on the road. Currently on a 7-game road trip, the Sharks were hoping just to stay afloat during this time and praying for a successful March in which more than most of their games are at home. Not the case now. The Sharks smell blood and have jumped from 8th place in the West to 4th in just 4 games. That can be attributed to the jam-packed Western Conference or the Sharks good play. I prefer the latter.

The success can be directed to many things, whether it be the additions of Ben Eager and Kyle Wellwood on either side of ROY candidate Logan Couture, who scored in his first game back from the flu. That line has been thriving.

It could be directed toward the reuniting of Thornton, Heatley, and Marleau on the top line. They seem more in-sync than they were in the first part of the season that led to coach Todd McClellan splitting them up. For the first time in awhile, I noticed that top line flowing, meshing, whatever word you want to use to say that this line is fitting together once again, like they were when they were regarded as the best line in the NHL, although the numbers don't show it.

But I'm going to direct the success at goalie Antti Niemi. No one was sure what to expect from him after winning the Stanley Cup last season. It was evident after Chicago let him walk. And after a rough first half of the season in which Niemi saw himself moving from back-up, to splitting time, to starter, to splitting time, and now back to starter, he is currently making the most of it. It was clear on Saturday that he is incredibly hot in net by shutting out the potent Bruin offense on their home ice, and he is the reason for the recent surge of the Sharks.

The Sharks continue their road trip and carry their hot play into Washington on Tuesday.

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