A Fan of the Game

Sports Talk, Straight Talk

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 49

Quite the fluctuating game tonight as the Sharks earned their first regulation win over the Phoenix Coyotes 3-1. The game featured a lot of ebbs and flows and different styles of play. Because of the Sharks diverse lineup, they were able to match any style presented to them and get the W.

The first period was the Patrick Marleau show. He scored his 30th and 31st goals of the season, and both came on incredibly different plays. The first was a shorthanded goal, and it occurred when the puck took a weird bounce behind the boards where goalie Jason Labarbera was, leaving the net wide open. Patty pocketed the puck with ease in the open net. His second goal came off a deflection from a point shot.

These goals might not have happened if Phoenix were awarded a goal soon after the game began. The referees blew the whistle early while the puck was underneath goalie Evgeni Nabokov. As soon as the whistle blew, the puck crossed the goal line. An unfortunate event for the Coyotes, who were previously 7-1-2 in their last 10 home games.

The oh-so-dangerous two-goal lead was tested in the second period. Almost half the period was spent with a Shark in the sin bin. It’s been a growing concern for Sharks fans — penalties. Three in the first, four in the second and one in the third. Yet again the stellar penalty kill unit locked it down all seven times, even killing a brief five-on-three. I thought the Sharks were supposed to be big and fast, and they were supposed to cause penalties, not take them. This might be the biggest reason for recent struggles, but it’s hard to fix. You don’t want to tell your players to tone it down because it risks losing an aggressive style of play defensively. And these aren’t all low-level guys taking them. We’re talking four penalties combined on Joe Thornton and Dan Boyle, and one on Rob Blake. The guys must be smarter about what they’re doing.

You don't look so happy Shane. Maybe if I blow on the puck instead of stickhandle, you'll have a chance. (From SJSHARKS.com)

Back to the game: scrums started developing after every stoppage, a few facewashes here and there, including Marleau, yes Marleau, throwing a few punches at Scottie Upshall. Marleau’s only had a couple fights in his career, one I remember was against Phoenix. Patty’s just a nice guy. Maybe he planned on killing Upshall with kindness?

Everything in the third period slowed down. Not much pace or emotion. The coaches clearly wanted their players to calm down. Too bad for us fans. Nabby lost the shutout with eight minutes left, but I didn’t expect one with the weak defensive play in that final frame.

The Sharks are currently on a stretch where they play eight games in 13 nights. Good way to start it with back-to-back wins.

He’s A Low-Talker

Todd Walsh, one of the Phoenix commentators, whispers to the audience and injects a monotone voice into everything he says. It certainly goes along with the style of play Phoenix uses, and I’m all for uniformity, but that’s not what a commentator should sound like. Not to mention he looks like an overweight Keith Olbermann.

Second Line Shenanigans

The second line is in a drought. A bad one. Ryane Clowe, Joe Pavelski and Devin Setoguchi have 0 goals, 4 assists and are -16 in their last six games, according to a Phoenix broadcast graphic. Not positive if that included tonight’s game, but if it didn’t, the only thing that would change would be the rating to -15. I can tell you guys and girls the problem. There’s a cancer in that line. Who could it be? I don’t want to give it awa–DEVIN SETOGUCHI DID IN THE LOCKER ROOM WITH A CROWBAR–whoops. Sorry. Remove Seto and the line will go back to normal.

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 21  PHX 24; Douglas Murray and Pavelski both had three.

The Sharks head back home and play the Boston Bruins on Thursday.

–Ray

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January 13, 2010 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment