October 26, 2011

San Jose Sharks - Quick Glimpse of the 3-0 Road Trip

Every season, a team can go on a streak, either for winning or for losing…the sharks hit a small one at the beginning. For having such a talented team like San Jose, it does not sit well for fans as the Sharks enter a road trip going 1-3-0 anchored at the bottom of the division. But road trips can give surprising results, as the San Jose Sharks are now 4-3-0, on a 3 game winning streak, its seems a little trip was just what the team needed to jump start what was called a struggling offense.

Before the road trip had started the Sharks had faced the ducks, twice, and the St. Louis Blues. Each a different goalie that decided to “stand on their head” as the Sharks peppered each goaltender with more than 30 shots each, taking 3 losses in that span.
Now it seems the Sharks have conquered the so called “hot goaltender curse” and have been loving to play against the “big name” goaltenders, as they have beaten out All Stars such as Tim Thomas and Pekka Rinne!

In their first game against the Devils the Sharks were being shut out 2-0 by their goaltending replacement in Johan Hedberg. Big Joe Thornton decided to show why he is has been playing in 1000 games, as he scored the first goal for the Sharks.  Then the goal scoring machine “jump started,” as clutch goals were scored by Ryane Clowe with 4 minutes left in the 3rd to bring the Sharks closer to tying the 3-2 game. This is when Joe Pavelski, with 33 seconds left in regulation, decided  to show why he such an important piece to the top 6 by scoring the game tying 3rd goal and bringing the game to the shootout where Michal Handzus and Ryane Clowe sealed the game with shoot out goals, ultimately winning the game 4-3.

After a clutch game against the Devils, one would think San Jose would be ecstatic but a little tired as they faced the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins. Yet the Sharks controlled the pace for the first 2 periods holding the Bruins to 0 goals and having Joe Pavelski score the first goal and Logan Couture scoring the second (his first). In the 3rd period, Milan Lucic capitalized on defensive lapses by Dan Boyle and Douglas Murray to score one passed Niemi to make 2-1. The scoring did no end there; in less than a minute the Bruins scored again as Tyler Seguin caught a pass from Lucic and beat Niemi to tie up the game at 2-2. Thomas was holding down his fort as the Sharks tried to put more pressure back on in 3rd period and finally Massachusetts Native Benn Ferriero scored off of a nice rebound to score the game winning goal. In the end the Sharks would win 4-2, scoring another as Patrick Marleau scored his first of the year on an empty net.

The Sharks were given a day off to rest before facing the Predators and everything seemed great as they sat on a 2 game win streak. The offense was working, Niemi is playing great, the defense was doing well…all great for the Sharks and their fans. The bad news hit when Nashville announced they would have Mike Fisher back and Francis Boullion. Mike Fisher is an excellent 2 way player and an expert on faceoffs while Boullion is a good strong Defenseman who is returning from a concussion. This game was going to be emotional for the Preds.

Last year each game was won by a 1 goal margin. This game was going to be a hard fought defensive grind it out type of game, which is the Predator style. In the beginning the pairing of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter were sent out, shutting down the Sharks top line. It was not until a penalty against Justin Braun, where a goal was finally scored. Logan Couture caught a nifty pass from Marty Havlat, who is on a point per game pace, and scored short handed! There were puck battles and hits but no goals were scored again until the 3rd period. The Predators had a weak power play, but this did not stop the youngster, Craig Smith, from scoring on it. The game was tied 1-1 and Joe Pavelski again decided he would be the Sharks go to guy and scored the next 2 goals to win the game 3-1 and with assists from Thornton on both goals. Big Joe now joined an elite class with 700 career assists!

There are ups and downs in a season. Thankfully the Sharks are on the upside for this road trip with a 3 game win streak. San Jose’s next game is against Detroit, who is itching to get back at the Sharks for bouncing them from the play offs 2 years in a row.

This will be a game to watch!

-Justin Stefani

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