3.18.2010

Game of the Night


 San Jose Sharks vs. Vancouver Canucks @ GM Place
2-3 Final
After coming off of losses that shouldn't have been, the leaders of the Pacific Division and the Northwest Division came head-to-head tonight.

The Sharks came off of a very disappointing loss to the Dallas Stars (2-8), and the Canucks loss very badly to the New York Islanders (5-2).  Not only did we lose a disappointing one against the Isles, we also lost Mikael Samuelsson.

Putting a show to all of their supporters and fans, the top two teams show that it was just one off night, and tonight is the night that (no matter win or lose) they show us that they are still the same teams.


From the moment the puck dropped, Joe Thornton was not having a swell night.  First, he got clipped by Henrik Sedin and didn't get the call.  Next, he tried to drill Shane O'Brien into the bench boards, but instead got himself flipped onto the ice.  Then as he battled along the boards for the puck, he got his stick lifted and had it clip a Canuck!  And he put the NHL's 5th best PP against the NHL's 4th best PK.

That 4th best PK didn't look so tight when we scored!  A little shake up by coach Alain Vigneault put Kyle Wellwood and Pavol Demitra in front Evgeny Nabokov and the net.  Lucky for us, it worked!  Alex Edler's point-shot made from the blue all the way to the back of the net.  Sometimes it pays to be a team's hardest shooter, eh?

Thornton's first 10 minutes reflected the Sharks' first period.  The Sharks gave the Canucks three PP opportunities in a row within 6 minutes!  It looked like the same Sharks against the Stars came into Vancouver tonight and played one of the hottest teams in the league.  They were simply out-played, out-handled in their own zone, and they didn't apply the pressure that they needed to.

Thankfully, that didn't last them the rest of the game.  (That wouldn't make for much of a game then, eh?)  They came back in the second with more shots (9-16) and more offensive pressure.  But there were times still when the Sharks were caught flat-footed.  But after 40 minutes, it was the good ol' Sharks.

In the final 20, the Sharks really looked like themselves.  Maybe it had something to do with the top line coming back together - I don't know.  But the shots some of the Sharks were taking were like blitzkrieg!  The Sharks PP started to cycle and maintain its motion, and they were coming back together.

Enough about the Sharks though - what of the Canucks?

Well, what can I say?  When a team comes out strong, we come out stronger!  When our best PKers went to the sin bin, other team-mates stepped up and killed essential PKs.  And when we needed him, Roberto Luongo stepped up to the stage and stopped the Sharks and their oncoming shots and powerful offence.

Along the way to third in the West, the Nucks found scoring among all of their lines.  But the offensive production from our fourth line is what I'd like to talk about.  When Darcy Hordichuk, Rick Rypien, and Ryan Johnson hit the ice, you better be aware, that this line can bring hits, offence, and block your shots!

After their productive second-half of the season, Johnson finally got his first goal of the season.  It took 83 games!  Apparently, karma doesn't repay quite fast.  After all those shots he has blocked for Vancouver, he finally gets repaid with a goal of his own.

When you thought it was near over, it's never over until that final buzzer rings.  It's a 60-minute game, yo'!  With 3 minutes left in the game, Joe Pavelski brought San Jose within a goal of Vancouver, and gave his team a late spark in their game.

Once that final buzzer did ring, the team with the most ammo did not win.  Where the Sharks came in with fire power from many angles and hiding spots, the Canucks came prepared with a fire-extinguisher and a box of waterproof matches.

3 stars: (by TSN)
(1) Ryan  Kesler
(2) Roberto Luongo
(3) Joe Pavelski

(my 3 stars)
(1) Roberto Luongo
(2) Joe Pavelski
(3) Kyle Wellwood

Why is Welly there?  Because he played probably one of his best games tonight!  He provided shots, and played out of his place.  For such a small guy, you didn't think he'd get into the dirty corners, but his skill, patience, and very skillful hands helped him in playing a very, very stellar game.





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