December 18th, 2009, 8:49 am
The Sharks finally got off the train to Loserville last night with a convincing 4-1 win over the hated Ducks. While this is certainly nothing to be too proud of, the Ducks are the worst team in the Western Conference by record so far this year at 13-14-7 and are a woeful 4-6-5 on the road, Anaheim had been playing better of late and had managed points in their last six games in a row until losing last night at the Tank. There was one bad thing from last night, they almost did it again! Did what you say? Lay a giant turd in the third period. The Ducks emerged from the 2nd intermission with a powerplay, promptly scored before you could get comfortable in your chair with your freshly scooped Rainbow Ice Dip’N'Dots, and proceeded to put endless pressure on the Sharks for about ten minutes. It was like Groundhog Day, but this time what Bill Murray was seeing wasn’t that dude Ned, it was Ryan, Perry and Getzlaf.
This aside, there were a lot of good things to take away from the game. Here’s my list:
- Seto scored! He looked more relieved than he did avoiding me at the mall on Tuesday (listen to the podcast here for that whole story) and we saw what kind of roll Ryane Clowe got on once he finally broke through. The Sharks biggest problem during this skid was their inability to score goals, and they need Seto (obviously) to make that happen.
- Jason Demers was back and looked good. Ready for something dramatic? The Sharks record without Demers is 2-2-3 and coincided with their recent five game slide. With Demers, the team is 18-6-4. While the kid has some growing to do, there’s no doubt the effect he has on the puck movement of this team, (Exhibit A: their four goal output tonight). It’s tough to take away your 2nd highest scoring D-man for a seven game stretch and still succeed, and I think Doug Wilson and company recognized that punishing Demers to the detriment of this team isn’t worth it. Let him learn on the job.
- I thought all four lines were rolling strong last night and the Sharks fourth line of Nichol/Ortmeyer and McLaren outclassed the Ducks fourth line all night, which was a huge problem for San Jose last season vs. this team. I didn’t notice Mike Brown or Parros at all.
- I got a hearty chuckle when Mike got angry at Joe Thornton for not shooting and then right as the words were coming out of his mouth, he feathered a pass to Seto and they scored. Timing is everything.
I hope this is the wake up call that’s needed before the Sharks head into a critical stretch of games in December and early January. With an outstanding long homestand and two key road match-ups this week, the Sharks have a chance to make a statement against two teams in Dallas and Chicago that have had San Jose’s numero this year. I think anything less than three points on this two game swing is unacceptable. If San Jose loses again to Chicago, I doubt Doug Wilson’s patience and understanding will carry over into the New Year.
We’ve got a pretty exciting guest on the podcast next week when local Bay Area NHL prospect and current USHL player, Ben Paulides, is joining us on the air. Don’t miss it.