It’s easy to spout out any number of sports clichés when you think about the magnitude of the last game of the season. It’s also incredibly predictable, so to spare you the trouble feel free to insert any “game of the season” clichés you wish.
It’s a game San Jose wants to win in order to avoid the daunting task of taking of the Canucks or Blues in the first round.
It’s a game against a rival that you have a long history against, especially a very recent one…..
Hahaha…sorry to those who are King’s fans.. sorta.
So against that kind of backdrop we look forward to Game #82 against the Kings in what is again the game of the season.
Or rather game of the postseason, because game #82 will go a long way in determining San Jose’s odds and lifting Lord Stanley’s chalice.
The win in LA was huge, and coming back from down 3-1 and the ensuring back and forth action made for tremendous hockey.
You couldn’t help but be happy about how the team played in Los Angeles, because that LA team is loaded with offensive talent. The first half was a complete onslaught with the Kings outshooting the Sharks and the boys stood in there and fought back for the crucial win.
I couldn’t help but compare this Kings team to the one the Sharks often had difficulty with in Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals a year ago.
Y’know…. the “ever-potent-Westgarth-Ponikaravsky-Lewis” line that dominated at stretches…. the horrible shot selection that made Quick look like he had a piece of plexiglass behind him?
So when I say the Sharks are going to win the Pacific title, please understand I don’t mean to disrespect the Los Angeles Kings. I respect Dean Lombardi and Darryl Sutter what they did in San Jose, and they will be a tough out for someone else in the first round.
In many ways as a Shark fan, you can sit back and look at that team and wonder what could have or would have.
But I believe the San Jose Sharks will be winning their fifth Pacific title, and facing either the Blackhawks or Red Wings in the first round. The 2000 playoffs was an awesome time for any San Jose fan, but I remember how badly Halak owned the Capitals that year in the playoffs.
How Halak’s 52 save performance turned in the fourth best performance Montréal Canadiens history.
The Sharks want no part of that. Trust me.
Yes this team is without its flaws, I’ll be the first one to tell you that. I can go on and on about declining depth, stubborn personnel decisions, top heavy nature and often questionable shot selection can snowball into an angry poopball of maddeningly inconsistent and frustrating play that defines your fanhood.
But the game against the Kings showed just how this team knew how to rebound from adversity and rise to the occasion.
But still many points of the huge win are reasons for any Sharks fan to hope that maybe, just maybe this year would be the one when we’d actually get it done.
The adversity, the horrible officiating and fast pace of the game all faced the Sharks, and they rose up to meet the challenge. Continue that type of play and who knows where this team can go.
Here’s to coming home Saturday and winning the Pacific Division.
Let’s go Sharks.
What has to work :
A Fast Start – This key almost feels too old but if you are a Sharks fan, you know why. The Sharks must jump out to a fast start and dictate the pace and play their game of puck control.
The .111 winning percentage that the Kings own in the season series against the Sharks when being down by 1 doesn’t hurt either.
Be ready for Quick – As much as I like to tell you hate this guy, I really can’t because he’s just too damn good to hate. His stats and nine shutouts this season don’t begin to measure how important he is for the squad. You can expect him to come to HP looking for vengeance, add Ryane Clowe’s moment and you can bet the Kings will be ready to play.
The Sharks need to be smart about shot selection make sure that Quick knows they are there, stay in front of the net and pay the price to get the job done.
Anze Kopitar – Shark Killer Extraordinaire with 12 goals and 22 assists in just 38 games against the Tiburones. Containing him is always difficult, so we’ll need to be ready to put the clamps down.
Martin Havlat – He’s been a catalyst since his return from injury, showing his speed and tenacity not to mention a great set hands ( and dish passes! ). He needs to keep doing what he’s doing, or whatever he does just please Marty… stay healthy.
Possible X-Factors for the Game
San Jose Sharks – I really liked TJ Gagliardi‘s jump last game even though he failed to register a shot and rode the minus train (-1).
Los Angeles Kings – Jonathan Bernier, yes we’d love to see him.
Stay on Rob Scuderi – the veteran has a bad against the sharks this year, registering a -4 despite logging top pair minutes.