Sharks @ Ducks, Feb 2, 2011
I stepped away to start a pot of coffee while the broadcast was getting going. When I came back, there was some replay being shown. I thought they were still doing pregame stuff. Nope, that was a replay of Heatley’s goal only 14 seconds in.
The Ducks have been a thorn this season. Not only have they defeated the Sharks twice in a row but they had the audacity to be on the ice during one of the Flyers’ meltdowns too. So I would really like to see the Ducks lose tonight, not only because I want the Sharks to win.
While Couture’s absence is never welcome, I am delighted to see the three tigers together again on the Zip Line: Nichol, Mayers and McCarthy.
Heatley avoids a hit, and draws a tripping penalty, but during the power play, he manages a pretty awful turnover. The Sharks make nothing of the power play, but shortly thereafter they do remember how to play, shut down a rush from the Ducks. From that, Eager breaks out and scores, much to everyone’s surprise.
With the team up by two, Boyle takes a penalty for tripping Selanne and the Sharks are on the penalty kill. They kill it off.
McLellan has put Wellwood, Eager and Ferriero on the same line. I wonder if that’s because he thinks Ferriero gets along with everyone or because he doesn’t know what to do with him.
A blue line shot from Demers makes it 3-0. The Ducks pull Hiller. So far, three Sharks lines are in the plus column. Pavs, Clowe and Seto were on the ice for that last one.
Late in the second period, Heatley makes up for a lot when Paddy is a little casual about retrieving a puck during a power play. He throws it into the slot where a Duck is coming in late.
Luckily, and maybe Paddy knew he was there, Heatley was with that Duck and cleaned it up.
At some point, the Ducks scored. I try not to think about that. It is bad, but the Sharks are still ahead.
Shortly thereafter, Clowe scores from an awkward angle off a rebound from a shot by Boyle.
The team has its moments of disorderly conduct, but they seem to be bouncing back very quickly, like they know where they need to be.
If Boyle is not the leader of this group, he is certainly the temperamental compass. He’s had some iffy moments but overall he looks cool and collected.
Maybe too cool, as the Sharks take a too many men penalty. The Sharks stop several good opportunities, and the Ducks score.
Well, that’s one way to end the torment of a penalty kill.
The third period begins like molasses, or at least a mud slide, the Sharks spending almost six minutes mostly on the defensive.
Those awful six minutes end with another goal for the Ducks, making it a one goal game. Another rush by the Ducks, some skittish play by Vlasic and others, and Eager puts it out of play, taking a penalty. Marleau shows some life on the PK, killing some time, but the Ducks are back at it too soon.
Vlasic seems cranky, gets into a little tussle by the net with Perry. That comes to naught. Koivu gets pinned between a hit by Huskins and a shot from the point.
Koivu seems okay. The penalty ends without any shots on goal for ther Ducks. That feels like progress.
The Ducks are back on the attack, Nemo has to make a dainty little pad save, the Sharks just can’t push back.
A Sharks two on one fizzles when one of the two loses his footing. Doesn’t seem to matter who, it was a try but not a confident one. It is emblematic of how this period is going.
The Sharks are getting shot up, blocking a lot of shots in these last two minutes. They mount just enough offense to keep the Ducks goalie in the net, but not enough to stretch out their lead.
The Sharks hang on, just barely, to win it.
The commentators in the post game suggest they were tired. So am I. This kind of suspense is less fun than last night’s. Or maybe not. It’s all a little nerve-wracking.
This was almost a reverse of what happened last night, with the Ducks cast in the role of comeback heroes. But it didn’t quite turn out that way. The same may be true of the 2010 six game losing streak as a model. That happened later in the season, so even if the Sharks follow that pattern, they will soon run out of pattern to follow.
Uncharted territory ahead? Or was the map only a mirage?