Anaheim Ducks (23-20-7) at San Jose Sharks (33-10-8), 7:30 PM PST
When we last left our intrepid heroes, they'd just vanquished the evil purple-and-black Imperial army, and commenced on the journey home, only to find it invaded by winged beasts led by a demonic general with a massive bald spot. Our heroes seem to have overcome what's ailed them, with an outburst of secondary scoring and fearless goaltending from the masked warrior known as Nabokov.
And now, with a quiet confidence and steady focus, our heroes prepare to carry their momentum forward as they exorcise the fair land of HP from the winged duck-like demons. However, it's unknown how the hockey gods will cast their fortunes, not when our heroes carry the jinx of the Chen with them.
That's right, folks. My lame attempt at a fairy tale-esque intro is all a lead up to reveal what the Sharks' biggest problem will be tonight. Not Ryan Getzlaf and his spray-on hair, or Bobby Ryan and his suddenly hot patriotic hand, or Jonas "Heil" Hiller. Nope, it's the fact that I will be in HP Pavilion, settled into my customary 205 spot next to my dad.
Last year, the Sharks hardly lost when we went, especially when we went to our good-luck Chinese food place on Market Street before the game. This season, my crazy family emergencies have limited me to two games: the 7-2 disaster against Chicago and a 3-2 shootout loss against St. Louis -- a game which saw the Sharks blow it in the dying seconds. We even tried switching up the mojo by eating at Erik's Deli Cafe against St. Louis (my dad is as superstitious as I am, and he's convinced that it's because he got a soup bread bowl instead of a sandwich).
So there are two ways to look at this. The optimistic way is that the Sharks got manhandled by Chicago but did better against St. Louis, only to shoot themselves in the foot. That means that things are swinging upward and my apparent jinx is wearing off. The pessimistic way is that the Sharks failed to show up against Chicago and found a way to lose against St. Louis, meaning that I'm cursing every aspect of it.
Of course, there's the whole mojo related to what jersey I wear to the game to. So far, Dan Boyle is 0-1-1, so it might be time to bust out the good ol' Roenick 27 jersey. It'll also help honor my newly discovered Man(ny)-crush on one bad-ass defensive forward who wears #27. I just hope that the dual-awesomeness of Roenick/Malhotra can fend off the jinx of the Chen.
Crap. I just heard Boyle's out tonight, Jason Demers is up. Damn you, evil purple-and-black Imperials, damn you and your Boyle-damaging attacks!
The Duck I'd Like On My Team: I have a thing for guys who wear 27. Scotty Nieds, how about driving up 101 come late-February?
Prediction: Sharks 27, Ducks 0. All goals by Malhotra. The jinx of the Chen is lifted, Dan Boyle is magically healed, and all is right in the world.