October 28th, 2010, 9:19 am
Is actually better than the Devil we know. I picked the Devils to make the playoffs this year, and they looked far from that last night. Their 5-on-5 play was so bad, which is just what the doctor ordered for the Sharks. The new cap’n drove the Sharks to a pretty easy 5-2 victory, with four of the goals even strength. Brodeur is aging, and his normal unpredictable style looked like panic instead of athleticism. There was a flukey goal at both ends of the ice, with a bad luck bounce off the glass leading to a David Clarkson tap-in on one end, and a strange bounce off the boards at the other end led to Jumbo completing his hat trick. Five point night for Joe, and the Devils had no answer to the HTML line, reunited (and it feels so good).
As far as the other lines go, B-. Seto is trying awfully hard, but it’s not going his way. Didn’t see much out of Pavs. Clowe is really adept now at using his body to protect the puck, but he needs to turn that into scoring chances instead of just zone time at the periphery. Good to see Boyle at +2. Vlasic and Wallin were -1 , but I’ll give them a pass, because that goal was the flukiest goal I’ve seen since JR’s 500th. Not only did it take a ridiculous bounce off the stanchion, it slowed down right in front of the goal for Clarkson. Nitty didn’t stray far from the crease on dump-ins after that. I still give Nitty an A- for last night- that goal was more bad luck than anything. The other goal stemmed from a huge penalty kill scramble that eventually kicked out to Andy Greene after about a dozen shots. Barring the disappointing game #2 performance against Columbus, Nittymaki has been over .930 in every game. Contrast that with Niemi, who was .938 opening night and has gone .857, .839, and .400 since. Ouch. Small sample size, yadda yadda, but right now it looks like DW’s initial goalie signing was well targeted.
The Sharks played the worst team in the NHL in terms of goal differential last night, and Saturday, they play the team with the second worst. The Ducks have given up 33 goals in 9 games. Let’s see if the Sharks can get some other lines rolling, and I fully expect another Nitty start. Gotta stay with the hot hand.