Friday, April 11, 2008

Nice Sharks win

Definitely a bit late in recapping, but a very good game 2 win for the Sharks the other night. Granted, there were a few shifts spent running around in their own zone, but much better focus and intensity on the part of the boys in blue (more precisely, teal).

Given that the sum of the whole played better, let's take a look at a few of the moving parts:

1. Evgeni Nabakov- Fantastic play on the part of Nabby with several "how did he do that?" caliber glove saves. Mikka Kiprusoff got a large amount of credit after game 1 (and during game 2), but I'd say that he has been no better than Nabakov.

2. Joe Thornton- Has played well, which he always does. No points in game 2, but has been a force out there. Similar story really to Flames Captain Jarome Iginla.

3. Milan Michalek & Jonothan Cheechoo- No glaring giveaways, but can provide a bit more production... especially as they're usually paired with Big Joe.

4. Patrick Marleau-Joe Pavelski-Ryane Clowe- Excellent play from this line. Just need to keep doing what they're doing.

5. Jody Shelley- Singled out here to bring up the question of who should play... Shelley or Devin Setoguchi. Seto would certainly be getting more than the three to four minutes a game that Shelley has been on the ice for, but given that the Sharks are a more skilled team (and the Flames are more prolific hooligans), I think it not a bad idea to have a security blanket in Shelley available if needed.

6. Matt Carle- Yes, yes, yes. Carle didn't dress for game 1 in favor of Alexi Semanov (injury replacement for Christian Erhoff), but took Semanov's place in game 2. Carle did spend 2 minutes in the penalty box, but also contributed 10+ solid minutes on the D line. I see no reason to bring Semanov back... and would even consider sitting Kyle McLaren in favor of Carle upon Erhoff's return from injury.

So... all this being said, my feeling going into the series was that it would be a tough series for the Sharks, but one they should emerge victorious out of as they have the more talented team and should be a bit tougher than past years due to both the experience of heartbreak lived through and new blood on the team this season.

After game 1 I was disapointed in the Sharks efforts and intensity, but still felt them the better team and that if they played the way they're capable of, they'd be fine. Game 2 is now in the books, and I'm of the same opinion. It's not going to be easy, but assuming that the (orange-rimmed) eye stays on the prize all game long, they should emerge out of a hard-fought series.

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