It feels like forever since I've been able to sit down and watch an entire Sharks game. I've been amped for the playoffs to begin since the Olympic Break ended. Last night we all got to see what the Sharks have in their arsenal going forward. Pavelski was all wheels, Thornton skated all over the place, Boyle was playing good defense, Nabby was on fire, and Clowe has been the freight train this team was waiting for since, well, since they signed him. It was a really entertaining game to watch.
I don't watch a lot of Vancouver games, but this was the first time I walked away with the name of Aaron Rome in my mind. You could see he was trying to be a pest in the Steve Ott kind of way, but he wasn't very good at it. Also, in all the highlights shown in the post-game, his weak coverage of a Sharks forward kept leading to Sharks goals. Thanks, Aaron Rome, you are...the weakest link!
Evgeni Nabokov = From the first save of the game, Sharks fans could tell he was on. Not only had he come WAY out to challenge the shooter, but that second save where he came halfway back to the net and kicked his left leg out was unbelievable. Some poor Canuck probably had nightmares about it last night. He offered to carry the game for the first 50 minutes. I firmly believe he could have had a shutout if the middle of the third period (really? 73 penalty minutes?) hadn't briefly unfocused the Sharks players. It's a little hard to stay fresh when there are almost more players in the penalty box than left on the bench, especially when it is after sending Nic Wallin to the dressing room.
Logan Couture = Wow. He's been lighting it up since he was recalled from Worcester, and Wow. He is a pure talent and I'm glad he's getting some action now and likely in the playoffs. He makes me worry much less about the future of the Sharks. I can remember being leery of a time when we'd have to rely on AHL call-ups for the next season. Knowing that he, Jason Demers, and Jamie McGinn have already come up this year is reassuring. Remembering that that still leaves Ryan Vesce, Frazer McLaren, Steve Zalewski, Mike Moore, and Benn Ferriero waiting in the wings is a warm feeling not unlike the last day before Spring Break. How timely! That's today!
Dan Boyle = During the Sharks' post-Olympic slump, it was widely publicized that Dan called out the team and tried to carry them for a while. Then, he kind of disappeared off the radar. At least my radar. I wondered if that meant he was injured or sick. What I've now realized is that he's been practicing two important details to his game, both of which were evident in last nights slant. 1. He's trying not to hold onto the puck so long. He used to be seen as puck hog, now he's making his same great outlet passes and then moving into position. 2. He's reteaching himself to play defense. I kept seeing him try to make the slick move, but now he's focusing on the best move. And honestly, I couldn't be happier that he fell off the radar.
Although I wasn't able to be at the game in person (see you Saturday!), I had a great time watching from my seat on the couch. It was a great game, even if it ran 20 minutes over because of the fights in the third period. Next time, Nabby, the team promises to stay focused and will help you blank the opposition!