A great moment last night with Owen Nolan at center ice, the entire crowd standing, cheering, not wanting the cheers to end. I’m sure Nolan felt the same. Both the Sharks and Flames giving it up for the veteran of both teams, the #1 overall pick in 1990, who, like so many others, had a long industrious career that didn’t quite end the way he wanted.
Basically, a microcosm of the game last night. The Sharks played just well enough to stay in it, but the Flames would take control whenever the Sharks tied it up. Olli Jokinen, of all people, looking like he was playing in his Florida Panthers heyday, dropping a hat trick on the Sharks. And most of all, the Sharks breakout defense being completely hamstrung without Dan Boyle in the lineup. The game winning goal in particular was a comedy of errors that was worthy of the Three Stooges, with Colin White assuming the role of Shemp. I half-expected Niemi to put the flat of his hand between his eyes so Jokinen wouldn’t be able to do the two-fingered poke.
The best part of the game was when the Sharks were down 2-0, then came roaring back in the space of 90 seconds. But true to form, the Flames regained the lead four minutes later, in perhaps the textbook definition of “how not to defend a 2-on-2”. It looks like a 2-on-1 for a moment, with Murray backing up, but Burns is quickly back in the play. Iginla passes to Jokinen, and Murray slides over to take Jokinen. Burns decides to hang out in no-man’s-land, leaving Iginla uncovered between the hash marks, who promptly buries the return pass from Jokinen. For good measure, there’s a third guy coming into the frame, also uncovered, who probably would have scored on the rebound if Iginla somehow failed to score from 15 feet out.
I’m hoping the Sharks were just looking forward to Friday, when they’ll come out with the same dominance they showed against Dallas and Columbus last week. It’s not all puppies and rainbows in Chicago either, I read this, and it cheered me up a little.