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January 22, 2019
Same Old Sorry Sharks?
by Michael Menser Dell, Editor-in-Chief
Todd McLellan left Endor for this?
The San Jose Sharks lost again last night, surrendering two third-period goals less than four minutes apart to eventually fall to the Anaheim Ducks, 3-2. The Fish will now swim into the Pond down 2-0, halfway to yet another monumental playoff collapse.
But never fear, Sharks fans. This series isnít over. Sure, losing the first two on home ice isnít the ideal way to begin a Stanley Cup run, but even Picasso spilled some paint. Donít sweat it. Youíve got Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Evgeni NabokovÖ okay, well, maybe you should worry a little.
San Jose isnít out of this yet. The Sharks can look towards the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes for inspiration. The Canes opened the playoffs with two home losses to the visiting Montreal Canadiens, allowing six goals in each contest, before rattling off four straight wins en route to the Stanley Cup.
Then again, the 2006 Habs didnít have Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer, and a host of Stanley Cup champions on their roster, either. Hmm ha. Maybe the Sharks are screwed.
Seriously, they can come back. Honest. Itís no big thing. Youíre allowed to lose three.
This is why San Jose got Rob Blake, Dan Boyle, and Claude Lemieux. Those guys know what it takes to win. They need to step up and take charge. Thornton sure as hell isnít going to do it.
San Jose holds a 79-43 advantage in shots. Jonas Hiller has been the difference. The Sharks need to keep grinding away. Donít worry if the horse is blind, just load the wagon. I still think this will be a long series.
Back in the old days of NHL Hockey on Sega Genesis, whenever an opposing goalie got hot, it was time to run him. Hit him after the whistle. Push him out of the net. Do whatever necessary to get him off his game. And it worked like a charm. Always look to NHL Hockey for answers to lifeís great mysteries.
Along those same lines, someone needs to disconnect Ovechkinís C button. Enough with the shooting already. We get it. You have no hockey sense. You donít have to beat us over the head with it.
Ovechkin has 19 shots in two games. Yeah, that sounds great until you actually watch him play. Just terrible. As soon as he gets the puck, Ovechkin looks to fire it on net no matter where he is or whatís going on around him. Heís not scared to bury a shot in a defenderís shin pad. Add the 10 or 12 pointless attempts with his eight missed shots and his seven giveaways, and Ovechkin truly is having a dreadful start to his postseason. And thatís odd, because he seems like such a selfless leader.
Ovechkin was up to his old tricks earlier today when he sat on the Ranger bench during their morning skate. NHL.comís Dan Rosen has the whole story. But when asked why heíd try and sneak onto the Ranger bench, which isnít allowed, Ovechkin said he did it to piss off John Tortorella and that the Rangers were scared of him.
Oh, thatís just Ovie being Ovie, right? Heís incorrigible. And by that I mean lame.
Take away Pittsburghís thoroughly dominate performance in Game One, and the Flyers have controlled the majority of play in Games Two and Three. Theyíre doing a real good job clogging up the neutral zone and making the Penguins earn whatever they get.
Darroll Powe has been a standout for Philly, registering a goal and an assist while bringing a physical presence each shift. Pittsburgh has four solid lines, and that depth will likely prove the difference in the series, but Powe, Danny Briere, and Claude Giroux have formed a legit third line for Philly, and they tipped Game Three.
Marc-Andre Fleury was rather brutal in net, but before anyone pins the loss on him, there were significant defensive breakdowns in front of him all afternoon. The most glaring came on the Giroux goal, when Brooks Orpik and Jordan Staal both chased Briere, and on the back-breaking Simon Gagne shorthanded tally, when Sergei Gonchar and Kris Letang did their Keystone Cops routine. Yeah, it would have been nice if Fleury bailed out his mates, but it was a group effort.
Donít let Pittsburghís inept play take away from Phillyís effort. The Flyers could have easily packed it in after that crushing Game Two defeat. And even after the Flyers seized an early 2-0 lead in Game Three, the Pens scored in the final minute of the first period and the first minute of the second to knot the game and give the Orange and Black another opportunity to call it quits. So good for the Flyers. Iím sure those memories will comfort them over their long summer.
(Just pan down the page a bit to find the poll.)