San Jose Sharks (41-9-9) at Ottawa Senators (23-27-9)
Ugh. Not a pretty night in Detroit, though thankfully the Sharks have the chance to head straight up to lovely Ottawa (a beautiful city if you've never been there) and redeem themselves. What went wrong last night? Well, part of it was that the Wings brought their A-game -- shot blocking, puck control, passing, defensive positioning. They didn't waver one bit, even when their fans razzed Ty Conklin for the goal he gave up.
(The highlight of the game was the CSN Bay Area feed picking up a Wings fan yelling, "Good going, Conklin. Fucking sieve.")
So, you get into early penalty trouble, then you over compensate by trying to do too much against a team that just didn't blink. And as things wore on, a combination of bad bounces and strong Detroit positioning meant that rebounds were just out of reach, shots were just off target, and passes were just off the mark. And the officiating sure was strange last night, with no consistency on calls for either side. To me, the past two weeks of games have shown the annual "let shit go" trend of refs, and I'm not just talking about Sharks games.
But I digress. Back to last night -- some of that, you can control; some of it, you can't. It's not that the Wings are invincible robots of destruction -- their fans will tell you that they've had their share of brain farts this season too. It's just that for whatever reason, the home team won in this season series to make it an even 2-2.
But the Sharks didn't show that mental toughness that we've seen for the bulk of the season. You don't have Dan Boyle taking stupid penalties out of frustration unless the team's getting into your head. And all of Rob Blake's bad holding penalties were magically transferred to Joe Thornton.
Ok, the bad mojo's out of the system. Everyone take a deep breath, clench your toes like fists, then relax. Breathe out. Unless you got the Quantum Leap machine or stole the Delorean from Doc Brown, you can't change the past. So, be zen, recognize that for whatever reason, you played stupid last night and you have to stay on an even keel tonight. Resiliency comes from bouncing back after stupidity, so here's yet another "Biggest Game Of The Season" (TM) test. Ready for Ottawa?
Prediction: Sharks 3, Sens 1. Goals by Roenick, Boyle (PP), and Clowe.