The accepted storyline around the hockey nerds of the internet seems to be that game two was subject to some fishy officiating (offishyating?), but most impartial observers also agree that the seriously questionable calls were fairly evenly split between the two teams. If Red Wings fans want to have a stroke about it that's cool with me, but I'm sure the Detroit players will take it in stride and will be able to start fresh for tonight's game.
The first two games have seen a lot of these two highly-talented offensive teams trading chances, and it's been exciting as all hell. I don't know if this is a great strategy long-term, but it's worked out for the Sharks thus far, so I'm not going to demand they change it.
Questions I have about tonight's game:
- Can anyone stop Joe Pavelski? (Answer: No.)
- Will the fourth line see more ice-time tonight? Scott Nichol had over nine minutes of ice-time in each of the final two games against Colorado, then 8:38 in the first Detroit game, and finally only 4:39 in game two. Nichol plays a good portion of his minutes on the penalty-kill, so his time can fluctuate based on the calls against the Sharks, but it's also clear that Todd McLellan doesn't seem to want to throw his scrappy energy line out there quite as often as he did against the Avalanche. Playing in Detroit will mean it will be harder to control who is matched-up against Detroit's power-line, so will the Sharks respond by playing the fourth line even less, or will Nichol and co. finally have some dominant shifts like they did in the Colorado series?
- Now that Heatley and Thornton are rolling, is it Marleau's time to come alive?
- Who will Detroit fans boo? The refs? Joe Pavelski? Rob Blake (always a popular choice)? Devin Setoguchi? Their own underwhelming team?
- Does anything exist on the internet that is like the thoroughly-addictive Quickhit Football, but for hockey? Like a free hockey management sim online? And, uh, how will this affect tonight's playoff game, or something?
- Who is the best Joe: Pavelski, Thornton, Louis, Montana, Camel, or Biden?
- How come when Stephen Hawking talks about time travel, nobody treats him like he's crazy? What's the key to his respectability? I think it's the wheelchair - I need to get one of those. I think the glasses help too, so I'll also need those. Here's a picture of the look I'm going for.
- Will the final score be 4-3 again? Or will it be a low-scoring defensive duel, or possibly a blowout?
- How awesome is it to see the breaks finally go the Sharks' way in the post-season? (Answer: Very awesome.)
Prediction: Sharks win 4-2, with goals from Pavelski, Heatley, Clowe, and Boyle. Feel the Forces of Victory.