Tough Game , Great Win

 From the beginning of the pre-game show (and even before) we were all thinking the same thing . This is going to be one tough game . For those of you who did not or do not know why this is so , I will explain .

 The Sharks have lots of talent on their team . Boyle , Heatly , Setoguchi , Marleau , Thornton , Nabokov and a whole slew of other top players fill their lines . They are a fast and hard-hitting puck possession team who like to score . And they do , often . The Red Wings went into the “Shark Tank” and were absolutely embarrassed . The Sharks have the best record in the NHL . We have trouble with the Wings (whether we play here or at the Joe) and we have far from the best record in the league . 

 Even though we do not have all the headliner names on our team that they do , we had a chance to win – and we took it .

The first period seemed like both teams were testing the waters . Each team tried to score but they both tried to do so safely . Both teams did have their chances to score but the goaltenders and their defensemen answered any and all challenges . This was a fast paced , hard-hitting period that ended with neither team having a clear advantage over the other .

 The second period was not as kind to us as the first was . Heatly scored the first goal of the game just as a powerplay had ended . Skrastins had Heatly covered , but did not lift his stick to keep him from hitting net . Only a few minutes later (quite literally), Clowe took a shot from the boards that pinballed off of at least two Stars players and wound up hitting the net behind Marty . Neal had a few chances on Nabokov but was unable to score . This period was not as bad as it seemed , despite the score . The missed stick lift by Skrastins was not a huge coverage breakdown , but it did result in a goal . That was really the only mistake that we made in the period . The pinball goals are rarely stoppable when shot as hard as that one was . We did panic a little bit but we had a powerplay near the end of the period that kind of helped to get our collective heads back together .

 The third period started out almost explosively . The Sharks seemed to think that they could keep the rink semi-tilted against us . Marty was not having any though . The only time he got into trouble was during the four on four when a stick-less Daley came in and literally kicked a puck out of the crease . A short time later Neal took a shot that bounced off Demers’ knee and went in behind Nabokov who was on the complete opposite side of the net . The very next time that Neal , Modano and Eriksson took the ice Modano scored – and he made it look so easy too . The next time that same line took the ice , they almost did it again . While the Sharks certainly had late period chances to score , this game was destined for more than sixty minutes .

 The overtime period showed Marty making big saves and immediately . Richards , Daley , Neal , Robidas and Eriksson all had their chances to score as well . Neal did manage to earn a powerplay but it was so late in the period , it amounted to almost nothing .

 The shootout did finally decide the game at about twelve fifteen in the morning (for me anyhow). When Robidas skated out and took the game winning shot , it so reminded me of Sergei Zubov . High glove side and made the water bottle jump . Great goal and a great way to end the game . The only way it could have been better is if we had handed them their first regulation defeat at home .

 Despite the see-saw nature of this game , neither team ever really owned the other . It was simply great hockey . Everybody did their jobs and stopped most of the things that the other team was trying to get rolling . 

 Our Stars did not pull a rabbit out of a hat for this win , they just got their “A” game from most every player that we had on the ice  . Coming from behind to win this game was fabulous , but I do wish we had never gotten into a two goal hole . Holes are hard to dig out of . I am very pleased at how well we played to make things even and then get the win – even if it was in overtime . It shows maturity and poise .

 MY STARS of the game ;
 1. Marty Turco – Hands down , he took this one . He made saves even when his defensemen backed off . He moved the puck early in the game and totally threw off the Sharks’ attacks . He was fabulous and earned the first star in the game as well as here .
 2. Mike Modano – An assist and a goal in such a low scoring affair would catch an eye anyway , but he played well away from the puck too . Kudos on your first points of the season Mo !
 3. James Neal – Man , did we ever miss him . While his goal was certainly not the prettiest scored in this game , he tries to score all the time . He is (and I quote Razor on this) “the poster boy for the way Crawford wants his forwards to play” . He is great defending and great at scoring . I truly hope he stays with us for a long time . 

 Honorable Mentions ;
Where should I start ? Robi scored the game winner so he has to be on this list . Morrow still set up shop in the crease every shift in their zone so he has to be here too . Richards played very well so he has to be here as well . You know , in all honesty , almost the whole team should be on this list except for one player and that leads me right into ………..

 Now I am going to introduce a new part of my blog : In The (Penalty) Box . Each game a new player (or not) will be placed in here and they will always have an explanation of why they are here and not just some foolishness like “he sucks” . Today , we get :

 In The Box ;
 Mike Ribeiro – He gets the gate for standing waaaaaay too much (standing up means your stick does not touch the ice). He also gets the “alone time” for making consistent turnovers as though he intended to pass the puck to the opponents players . His place in the box is solidified by his apparent uncooperativeness to play in Crawford’s “new” system . It appears to me that he does not want to play like the coaches want him to , thus his lack of points this season . Enjoy the Box Ribs .


~ by Adam on November 14, 2009.

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