Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sharks Dominate Another Pacific Foe

Good to see someone else posted here. Even better to see my "guppies" as he put it are now over a dozen games ahead of his fallen Stars...

On Thursday night, the San Jose Sharks returned home to host the Pacific Division second place Phoenix Coyotes. Both teams came to play, and the game had post-season intensity.

Under four minutes into the game, there was a fight between Daniel Winnik and Ryan Clowe. Both teams had in excess of 30 hits and a minimum of 17 penalty minutes.

The game also featured tight defence. Neither team managed 30 shots on goal, and both goalies made tremendous save after save. Thursday was Evgeni Nabokov's second consecutive shutout, and it has now been 170 minutes, 10 secondssince he let a goal by him.

The only shot that went by either happened when Patrick Marleau passed a rebound of a Devin Setoguchi shot out to Christian Ehrhoff, who slapped it home around a partial Joe Thornton screen. The only other goal came when Ryan Clowe passed the puck across to Marcel Goc, who shot it into the empty net; Alexei Semenov got the secondary assist.

One concern for the Sharks is their failure to score in every game where the first line is broken up; coach Todd McLellan did that again by elevating Clowe to the first line and putting Marleau on the second.

The other time he did that was in Calgary, when the Sharks were outscored 3-0 in the first period before McLellan switched the teams back. Any good defence can shut down one line, and there will be plenty of good defences in the Western conference playoffs.

But for now, the Sharks have shown an ability to win games against tough teams in multiple ways. In this four-game winning streak, they have needed six goals to win one game and a shutout to win another.

Now the Sharks face the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday at home; Chicago will be playing their third game in four days in California, so San Jose should earn their 14th consecutive win over the Original Six franchise.

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