And it begins.
SCF series preview
The first 20 minutes won’t be a good memory. The Sharks came out tentatively (and probably nerves), and let the Penguins dictate play for the most part. They gave up two goals and were outshot 15-4.
After regrouping in the first intermission, the Sharks had a much better period with Hertl (PPG) and Marleau scoring, and outshotting the Penguins 13-8.
The third period was back and forth, with the Sharks doing well to weather the 18 SOGs (to the 9 for the Sharks), but a little out of position and a broken stick gave the Penguins the GWG with about two and a half minutes to play. Marleau also took a hit-to-head minor on Rust; no supplemental discipline will be levied, but Rust is out day-to-day.
Disappointing, but this is not a one game series. Still, there will be some tweaks and many are excited over the speed and play that game 1 showed that might extend through the series.
25th Franchise anniversary. Still making history, with first Stanley Cup Finals appearance.
Pittsburgh Penguins Twitter list
Former Sharks on Penguins: Nick Bonino (former prospect); Mike Sullivan, Head Coach; Bill Guerin, Assistant General Manager; Jay Leach, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Associate Coach; Bob Errey, ROOT Sports Pittsburgh Color Analyst
Other Pittsburgh connections: 1997 draftees Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau; 2012 draftees Tomas Hertl and Chris Tierney; former Penguins Paul Martin, Nick Spaling
To advance this far in the playoffs, you have to be good offensively and defensively. Sharks are leading in goals for, goals against, power play %, shots against. Sharks have the top three scorers in the playoffs (Pavelski, Couture, Burns).
Sharks forwards average a year and a half older, more than 11 pounds heavier, and 3/4″ taller than the Pittsburgh forwards. Sharks defense are about an inch taller, more than ten pounds heavier and about 18 months older than their Penguins counterparts. The Sharks should be able to play a more physical game, but do have speed that the Penguins might not expect.
One story line is the nine years between Finals appearances for the Penguins vs the first time for the Sharks. And the Sharks ease/experience of travel will tip the balance as we advance through the series.
And while the NHL Sharks and Penguins go at it, their ECHL affiliates, Allen and Wheeling, are fighting it out for the Kelly Cup, a first in the ECHL.
How I think the finals might go: Early on, the Sharks will be emphasizing defense as they test out the Penguins physically, then they’ll push offensively. Sharks in 6.
It’s time to #SilenceTheBlues for this season. Game 6.
Game 5 postgame news/notes
For the Blues, Wednesday night, it’s win or go home. Sharks lead the series 3-2, and a win would advance them to their first Stanley Cup Finals (and win the Clarence S Campbell Bowl as Western Conference champions). It’s the Sharks 100th game this season (regular and post).
The Blues have announced that Elliott will be back in net for game 6.
Sharks need to show their killer instinct and take the Blues out. Just worry about this game. (Add all the cliches needed.)
It’s time to #SilenceTheBlues for this season. Game 6.
Sharks are now the furthest they have ever been in the postseason, with their 11th win. (Fifth on the road.) One more win to advance to the fourth round, and it’ll be hardest yet with the Blues facing elimination.
Game 5 pregame news/notes
The Sharks opened the scoring, the Blues took the lead. The Sharks tied it up and the Blues took the lead again. But then the Sharks poured on the goals, with four unanswered to clinch the win. The Sharks were 2-3 in power play opportunities and kept the Blues to one goal in three man advantage opportunities.
Got a bit chippy with a couple of fights, with some extra minors handed out. But the Sharks were, for the most part, playing hard and ignoring the extracurriculars.
Pavelski (2 goals including GWG, 1 assist tonight) and Couture (1 assist tonight) tying league lead for points, etc. Seem to be setting a new record every game. Ward had two goals as well.
Jones bounced back from his last bad (half) game, making the saves when he needed to.
Sharks have kept Tarasenko scoreless through the series.
Next up: the Clarence S Campbell Bowl will be in the house Wednesday night. Game 6 at the Tank.
Series tied 2-2. Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their team.
Game 4 postgame notes
This post season, the Sharks have bounced back after a horrendous game (i.e., PDSF game 4->5; PDF game 6->7), so the Sharks have it in them to make game 5 a win. The only Sharks forward who did not have a shot on goal last game was Marleau.
About 80% of teams who win game 5 go on to win series. Two more wins needed to clinch series.
Backes and Fabri are said to be “game time decisions”; neither participated in morning skate, but sounds like they may go.
Guessing this will be a close game. But Sharks on top.
Good last 20 minutes of play, but the first 40 minutes doom Sharks. Series tied 2-2.
Jones gave up 4 before being pulled; Reimer got some ice time in relief (and gave up a goal). The Sharks vaunted power play let in a SHG and failed to get any pucks past Allen.
The Sharks were down 0-4 after forty minutes and did all their scoring in the last period. 3-6 with the ENG.
The Blues captain Backes played 5:34 in the first and did not play for the rest of the game. In postgame interviews, Hitchcock was coy about why he didn’t play and what his availability for game 5 will be.
But one bad game does not a series make. Time to put it behind you and focus on the game to be played “today”.