Shark-Infested Blogger

May 20, 2010 3:17 PM

Sharks Still Can Make Noise in this Series

The San Jose Sharks chances look grim against a team out-performing them thus far in the series. But the dark cloud following them has not yet ripped out are ten reasons that the Sharks can still win this series:3443681450_c4126c85ba.jpg

  1. Chicago is not very good at home (3-3) this post-season, and the Sharks have been solid on the road (3-2).
  2. The Blackhawks are not dominating most statistical categories, so the Sharks have been competitive everywhere but scoring in Game Two. In fact, they have the edge in shots and faceoffs, meaning they control as many as they are deficient in.
  3. The two areas San Jose is failing in--puck management and shooting/save percentage--are related and can be remedied.
  4. The Sharks must win four out of five games, but they have done that in each of the two prior series and plenty of times throughout the year.
  5. San Jose overcame great obstacles to get here. They had three own goals in the first series and a 2-1 deficit while carrying the burden (no matter what they claim) of the choker label. They faced their long-time nemesis and overcame a 3-1 third-period deficit and a 7-1 thrashing in the second round. Unless they do not win a single game, few will consider this playoff run a choke.
  6. Philadelphia overcame a 3-0 deficit, which is worse than a 2-0 even when both were home games.
  7. Antti Niemi is still a rookie, and at some teams figure out how to crack them--he will not save 23 of every 24 shots forever.
  8. While Evgeni Nabokov's save percentage is not great in the series (.903) and his play has probably been better than that, he has yet to steal a game. Coming off an extra day of rest after Game Two and with seven days off between the second and third round, his heavy regular season workload should not preclude him rising to the challenge.
  9. The Sharks have the right mindset: They are talking about the necessity of getting a win in Game Three and making adjustments. They have been defiant about suggestions about the team's performance and dwindling chances. They have shown passion and even surliness in losing--the very "edginess" they were supposedly missing.
  10. And perhaps the greatest reason is the Sharks have not made every possible adjustment. They still have not gotten enough shots up high on Niemi, not gotten enough traffic in front of him, not taken care of the puck well enough, and not tried every possible personnel change.
And that is just it: If an amateur like me can see adjustments to try, you can bet the Sharks coaching staff has seen them. In my next article, I will list several changes the team could make in both the personnel and gameplan for Game Three--with the desperation the Sharks face, every logical change should be implemented.

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