Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sharks Behind the 8-Ball

Well, the time has come to dust off the ol' 8-Ball again and this time it's the Sharks who have to rest behind it. This team is in tough going into Game Four in Chicago, having only a few bright spots to carry them through this series, but no wins to show for those efforts.

The Sharks are up against elimination on Sunday afternoon, but not only elimination, the possibility of getting swept in these Conference Finals, by a team that was coming into this series as a lower seed.  You could say that the Blackhawks were coming into this series playing much better hockey and looking like the better team, but for statistical purposes, the Sharks were the favourites in the standings coming in.

If the Sharks are going to pull this game out of the fire, they are going to need one of those solid road games that everyone keeps talking about.  They have to pay no attention to the ruckus in the crowd, they have to remain composed and diciplined, while keeping their mistakes to a minimum.  We all know that Evgeni Nabokov is a good goaltender and can make timely saves, but there are very few goalies of the past and present that can save a team on a regular basis when said team makes mistakes in front.  The Sharks can score, they have plenty of talent, but they are going to have to generate their offense from playing defense and that will be the key to Game Four.  If that doesn't come about, then all is lost.

For the Blackhawks, the game plan is simple.  Keep doing what you've been doing. You have to be impressed with what the Blackhawks have been doing in this series and there should be no reason to quit or even let the Sharks back into the series.  That would just be absurd!

TeamScott G.Neil B.Myles D.Kalenab G.Leo M.Stuart G.Derek B.Russ D.
Patrick Sharpxxxx
Dustin Byfuglienx
Brian Campbellx
Patrick Kanexxxxxx
Jonathan Toewsxxxx
Marian Hossaxxxx
Duncan Keithxxx
Brent Seabrookx
Joe Pavelskixxxxxxx
Manny Malhotrax
Ryane Clowexx
Dan Boylex
Joe Thorntonx
Dany Heatleyxxx
Evgeni Nabokovx
Jason Demersx
Mac-Eduoard Vlasicx
Rob Blakexx
Patrick Marleaux

As you can see from the table, the Flyers and Canadiens game did good things for Scott G., who will now have to face the onslaught of offense again in Game Four of this series. I believe I've said it before, Scott would be awfully happy if this series was to end sooner rather than later.

I think one of the more interestiing bits going into Game Four was the addition of Derek B. to the table above.  He managed to destroy the Joe Pavelski domination that was going on and he added Patrick Marleau, who was discussed when pointing out players who wasn't on this table.  Very interesting.   Of course, these are all moot points when the Sharks are eliminated, but Marleau's scoring in Game Three was enough to lift Derek onto the table, so we can celebrate that at least.

I think we all sort of know the score for this series in the pool, if the top guns of the Blackhawks keep scoring at the pace that they are, everyone gets a little bit closer to Scott (if not passing him) and for the most part, if the Sharks can get their top guns to score (ie. Joe Thornton and Marleau), that's just more points that Scott won't get and people could catch him that way.

I'm looking forward to watching this game and personally hoping that it's over and done with so the possibility of getting to the Cup Finals is a little faster.

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