Sunday, April 13, 2008

Train Wreck of a Game

Very rough game to watch put out by the Sharks this evening. After taking an early 3-0 lead, and watching one of Calgary's best players in Mikka Kiprusoff go to the bench, the Sharks then played their way to a 4-3 loss.... ouch.

Scoring chances for the Sharks were few and far between post 3 goal lead and Calgary's pressure in the defensive zone seemed to give the San Jose players nowhere to go with the puck. Joe Thornton seemed to only have the puck on his stick for mere seconds until being harassed by multiple Flames players. Unfortunately, this strategy appears to be a sound one to employ as Milan Michalek and Jonothan Cheechoo have thus far proven themselves unable to both support the double-teamed Thornton and then generate scoring chances.

On the defensive side, things appeared even rougher for the Sharks. Kyle McLaren both appeared to (pardon the cliche) handle the puck like a grenade most of the night and took one of the two penalties that were converted into Flames goals. Additionally, one of the more nettlesome developments was the less than stellar play of "here he comes to save the day" defenseman Brian Campbell. While he certainly had a few excellent plays, he also has made several giveaways in this series (one which led to the Flames 3rd goal in game one) that one wouldn't expect from a player of his reputation. I can't say for certain who should be the one to sit upon his return (but, me thinks I would vote McLaren off for a game), but here's to hoping Christian Ehrhoff can make it out there for game four.

The truly disconcerting thing about this game is that up until these developments, it appeared the Sharks were the better team... and in control of their fate as simply matching the Flames effort and intensity would result in a series win. After watching this debacle, though, I'm not as convinced the Sharks are the better squad. Whether that potential "non-better team" status would be due to the aforementioned effort/intensity calculus or simply poor defensive play, I'm not sure, but I am concerned.

Well, the experts had the Sharks prevailing out of a hard-fought series in either 6 or 7 games. We're now at a game 6 needing to be played (hopefully), let's see if the experts were right.

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