April 30th, 2010, 9:45 am
With Marleau being literally a last-minute scratch (he participated in the pre-game skate), it looks as if the ghost of Ed Belfour had made a comeback, despite our masterful exorcism. I’ll pass on a bit of a rumor, because it’s harmless- we heard it was food poisoning. That’s from only one source, but it does jive with the official report: that it’s an “illness” and not an “injury”.
The Wings played almost exactly as expected. Dazzling puckhandling, good defensive movement, great speed. And luckily for us, mediocre goaltending. The Sharks lost the even strength battle 3-2, but won the special teams battle 2-0, and that was enough to win game 1. I wouldn’t bank on that plan for future games. Good parts of the game had Doug and I biting our nails, wringing our hands, and puckering our… well, you get it. It was nerve wracking.
All of this will make for a great series. A series that I desperately want to enjoy, but will have extreme difficulty doing so. This is great hockey, people. Two great teams battling it out, with quite different styles. The Sharks crash and bang, go deep in the corners, Big Joe or Clowe extract it, blast from the point and sit in Howard’s lap. Detroit will have five guys on the ice at all times that can dangle, with behind the back passes, one-handed dekes, and open ice being created out of thin air. It would be so great to watch if I didn’t have an ulcer.
Marleau will hopefully avoid all Sizzlers, Red Lobsters, and the Hometown Buffet, and the Sharks will get their 44 goal scorer back for game two. One thing I mentioned to Doug as we were walking back, is the Wings have the capacity to lay a big turd in a game now and again. The Wings were up in the series 3-2, at home, and just forgot how to play in game six. They were down 5-1 in the third before a late goal made it a slightly more respectable 5-2. The Sharks’ worst game of the playoffs so far was the 6-5 shootout in game two vs the Avs, which they won. We certainly can’t count on a lapse from Detroit, but it makes me feel a little better that it’s possible.
In other news, Doug and I have entered into a wager with WingsFanInSharksLand, who happens to be a friend of ours, and despite his obvious character flaw, is actually a really good guy. I don’t want to give away the stakes, but let’s just say either way the series turns out, it will provide some entertainment for you all.