Sharks head coach Todd Mclellan knows that if his team is going to regain their advantage over the Kings tonight, their penalty kill and powerplay have to improve.
San Jose’s powerplay was the second best in the league during the regular season. The playoffs are only two games old for the Sharks, but after seven attempts they’re still looking for a goal when the opposition is short-handed.
Combine that with a penalty kill that’s coughed up three goals, and everyone around San Jose’s locker room seems to be aware of the adjustments that have to be made quickly.
Jason Demers has a future in hockeyball
The Sharks didn’t just lose Game 2 to the Kings, they were trounced. Kings defenceman Drew Doughty finished with two goals and four points, pacing Los Angeles to a 4-0 win and tying the series.
Maybe the win was an early momentum shift in the series, but as we said during our predictions that are sure to be wrong in today’s podcast, we doubt it. But if it was, and the Sharks are ousted early, at least defenceman Jason Demurs has a future in the growing sport of hockeyball to fall back on.
When Michael Handzus is your leading point producer at centre, that’s bad…right?
When the Kings lost leading scorer Anze Kopitar to an ankle injury, and then saw the Wheel of Justice unleash its fury on Jarrett Stoll, centre became a massive position of weakness. For Game 2 Michael Handzus was the leading scorer among the Kings’ centres, and there’s a special place in offensive hell for any hockey team in that situation.
But as Helene Elliot of the Los Angeles Times tells us, hockey games that are played on paper aren’t nearly as fun to watch.
The advantage the Sharks had on paper hasn’t carried over onto the ice.
Couture and Pavelski each scored goals in San Jose’s overtime triumph in the opener, but the Kings’ makeshift center corps outdid their Sharks counterparts in Game 2 with a dedicated defensive game and assists from Handzus and Brad Richardson.
The return of Ian White
Don’t worry, Sharks fans, you can’t keep Ian White down for long. White was the victim of Stoll’s hit in Game 1, and was out of the lineup in Game 2 with a bad case of the headspins when his melon was slammed into the boards. He’ll likely return tonight after being cleared to practice on Sunday.
So what if it was one of the Sedins getting clocked, and not Brent Seabrook?
Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Brent Seabrook will miss what will possibly–and likely–be the Blackhawks’ final game of the season tonight.
Fans are fickle creatures blinded by emotion, especially during the spring when they’re unable to see beyond the boundaries of the team they support. Canucks fans who acknowledge Raffi Torres was flirting with the line between fair and foul with his hit on Seabrook likely still won’t disagree with the league’s decision that his interference minor was sufficient.
A miraculous comeback seems unlikely for Chicago, but as the Flyers taught us last year, waiting to drive in that final nail on a team isn’t a wise choice. So as cold as it sounds, somewhere deep down Canucks fans are propping Torres up on their figurative shoulders. His hit that took out one of the opposition’s best defenceman improved their chances of winning and closing out the series.
It’s a pendulum that can easily swing in the opposite direction, and the Kurtenblog knows it.
History was made two days ago, says the NHL’s marketing team
Yes, there’s already a “History will be made” commercial out for Brandon Dubinsky’s goal that won Game 3 for the Rangers Sunday. As the Russian Machine Never Breaks quite correctly observes, is the NHL really so desperate for historic material that a winning goal in the third game of a series makes the cut?