December 21st, 2009, 12:36 pm
Will the real San Jose Sharks please stand up?
This two game road swing is a pretty important moment for the Sharks franchise as they approach the halfway point of the 2009-10 season. As my holiday fingers type this post, the Sharks sit in a first place tie with the LA Kings in the Pacific Division and has lost their #1 seed in the Western Conference. Now, I don’t care about winning the conference, honestly I’d prefer if they didn’t so there’s not some eery sense of doom and gloom before the playoff series even starts – but winning the Pacific is very important. Whoever doesn’t (us or the Kings) will likely be in that dreaded 4 or 5 seed, and could have to dance with Calgary or Vancouver first. No thanks.
The Sharks have had no luck against the Stars and Blackhawks so far this season and if they come up with a stink bomb on this two game swing, I think Doug Wilson and company will have to pull the trigger on another move that rattles the core of this team. Anyone who reads this blog with any regularity knows that I firmly believe without an upgrade on the blueline, the Sharks are not going to be a real Cup contender. Dropping two games to teams that can’t figure out could finally be the straw that breaks the Vlasic’s back.
Here’s a stat that many of you know, and it’s rather sobering in terms of where the Sharks fall in the real power rankings of the NHL. If you take an overtime loss for a loss, here’s the Sharks record.
Chicago Blackhawks 23-11 .676
Nashville Predators 22-14 .611
LA Kings 22-15 .594
Phoenix Coyotes 21-15 .583
Calgary Flames 20-15 .571
San Jose Sharks 20-15 .571
Vancouver Canucks 20-16 .555
Colorado Avalanche 20-17 .540
When you take into account that Dallas is actually 15-20, losing to them tonight for a third time this year is unacceptable.
I think San Jose will deliver the good tonight on the road with a convincing win with a side of payback. The puck movement was so much improved with Demers on the blueline, I think the offense that struggled in the last meeting with Dallas should be ignited. The effort against the Ducks was a good sign (except for about five minutes at the beginning of the 3rd). All four lines were rolling, hitting, winning face-offs. The Sharks are as deep as any team in the NHL and I think they will wear down a Dallas blueline that will be without Trevor Daley and Marc Fistric. Sharks let the good times roll tonight and keep an itchy Doug Wilson at bay for another day.
Plus I guarantee a fight between McLaren and Barch, probably in the first ten minutes of the game.
Prediction: Sharks 5 Stars 3