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Sharks Gameday: Let's Finish This

I'm not terribly keen about the idea of going to Game 7, not just because that would mean that Calgary would have the opportunity to win the series, but also because of the physical pounding that the Sharks have been taking. For the past few games, they've done a decent job of pushing back, but that doesn't heal hurting bodies; time does, and by winning Game 6, it buys the guys a little more time to heal those bumps and bruises.

There's no status update yet on Kyle McLaren, and really, I don't even know why he's seeing ice time. He's obviously hurt and is a pylon out there, so I don't care what his "veteran presence" means, it's hampering the team. That, and he just kinda sucks now and he's been kinda sucky for more than a season now.

Ron Wilson was explaining his idea about dressing essentially 10 forwards: mix and match combos so that the Flames would always be guessing when Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau would hit the ice -- and whether or not they'd be skating together. I like that idea, but I really don't see the point of intentionally dressing a useless body on the blueline to have an excuse for mixed line combos. I mean, really Ron, you can do that regardless, and McLaren's only a liability out there.

So, if it's up to me, I'd basically alternate my top two lines as:



I don't really see the point about putting Ryane Clowe on Thornton's line right now. He's working well with Joe Pavelski, and Jonathan Cheechoo's getting hot at the right time . Remember, he's a ridiculously streaky scorer. I know he spent some time with Pavelski last game, I just think his game is better suited for Thornton if they're both on. If Cheech is becoming a viable threat again, maybe that'll get the Calgary D to back off Thornton just a little bit. Devin Setoguchi's got speed and tenacity and that might help create some space too.

Really, though, it feels like the forward group's coming together and I'm not too worried about them. What does scare the crap out of me, though, is this defense. Brian Campbell's taking baby steps to becoming good again, but he still looks like a shell of his regular-season self. There are still too many defensive breakdowns, and it's coming down to the team resigning to the fact that (to quote Dan Patrick) they can't really stop Jarome Iginla or Dion Phaneuf, they can only hope to contain them.

Contain those two, keep the struggling Calgary supporting cast quiet, and have the forwards keep doing what they're doing. Push hard for 60 minutes, combine passion and skill, and we'll be heading to the second round.

I'm cautiously optimistic.