Friday, April 25, 2008

You Take It... No, You Go Ahead

Very strange game played between San Jose and Dallas tonight.

In the Calgary series, the Sharks could count on Flames players flying at them during every breakout from the defensive zone and after every whistle. It made the series an epic struggle for San Jose, but they managed to clutch up and play well in enough (specifically 4 of the 7) games to win.

Tonight, however, Dallas seemed content to let the Sharks break cleanly out of the zone and to play a "gentlemanly" brand of hockey free of any unpleasantries. This should have played straight into the hands of the Sharks and allow the skill of Messers Thornton, Cheechoo, Marleau, Michalek and Campbell to take over. Instead, what you saw from the Sharkies was a fairly passive brand of hockey where they seemed content to revel in the new-found open space and pass the puck back and forth to each other... rather than driving the net.

Trailing by a goal late in the 3rd, the Sharks did crash the net and lo and behold... a goal by Jonathan Cheechoo. Strangely, though, San Jose then followed that up with a shift spent on their heels that led to a Dallas power play.

Again, odd game. Dallas played into the Sharks hands defensively. The Sharks didn't play with a sense of urgency (sound familiar?) and capitalize. The Sharks had two large defensive breakdowns and Dallas scored both times... and won.

Going forward, San Jose should be ok if they can repeat their opening series M.O. and follow up a weak game one with a more ferocious game two. If, however, they don't, the Stars are certainly a good enough team to continue current path and do enough to win. Let's hope San Jose rediscovers that needed sense of urgency.

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