January 29th, 2010, 9:16 am
Save the opening ten minutes of last night’s game, the Sharks put in a really good effort. The second and third periods were more or less how we expected the entire game to be- fast, end-to-end, with dynamic chances. After the longest layoff since mid December, the Sharks started the game flat, which certainly includes Nabby. They coughed up three goals before you could say “Kris Versteeg douchey sunglasses.” While the first goal was clearly a missed assignment, leaving Byfuglien alone in the high slot for an open shot, I thought the second two were mostly on Nabby. He had plenty of time to get in position on Brower’s first of the night, leaving the near side open. Then, on the third goal, a shot came from a sharp angle, and instead of Nabby kicking it to the corner or directing it behind the net, it was kicked back to Hossa, who passed it to Ladd for the tip-in. I might have pulled Nabby right then and there.
But give the boys some credit- they woke up, and managed to tie the game eventually on the NHL’s #1 team in terms of shots and goals against. Going back to the formula that beat the Hawks in their barn on December 22nd, the Sharks were shooting high all night on Huet, and several missed seemingly by millimeters. All this without Marc-Eduouard Vlasic, who Doug and I only noticed wasn’t out there in the middle of the third. He actually only played 7:25, his normal load for the first, and never came back for the second or third. The fact that Huskins had more ice time than he’s had all season (25:46), Murray third most all season (23:54), and Blake third (24:26), seemed particularly evident on the last play of the game, when Murray rushed the puck deep, the Hawks produced a turnover and an ensuing rush, and Murray looked even slower than usual in getting back in the play- from where I was it looked like dead legs.
I can’t find a single report that even mentions Vlasic’s injury, much less the extent of it. I expect Pollak should have something on his blog today. All I can say is, Boyle, we missed you, and Vlasic, get well soon. Hurt even more because he had another strong offensive night, being in exactly the right place and passing the puck perfectly to Pavelski. Say that three times fast.