Last nights game from what I saw and heard of it, was a little bit of a lackluster performance by the Sharks. I was a bad Sharks fan and blogger last night because I did not see the game. Wifes B-day was much more important last night. Trust me, if you are married than you understand. Besides there is a whole lot of hockey left to enjoy. Torrey Mitchell from what I have heard had himself an impressive debut. I saw the overtime period and saw McLaren get caught out of position a couple of times, hope this does not turn into a regular thing. Big Joe once again saved the day netting one , I believe it was 10 seconds left, to send the game to OT.
On to tonights game, I promise you I will be watching as close as I can tonight ! I think the first line of Marleau, Thornton , and Cheechoo is a great concept but in my opinion that line lacks grit. I would like to see Michalek and Clowe playing with Joe. The second should see Mitchell centering Marleau, and Cheechoo. Also I belive a line of Pavelski between Roenick, and Bernier might work out well. The Rissmiller-Goc-Grier line is perfect just as it is. Great shut down line! The line combos are tough to pick because as a hockey player some days you click with a group you normally would not play with, and who can guess when that is going to happen. Anyway that is just my 2 cents take it for what you will, hang me, back me up, whatever you like.
The Canucks are home to one of the best goaltenders in the world. That Goaltender is Roberto Luongo, and he has a great defense in front of him as well. Up front the Canucks have had trouble. Scoring goals was a problem, hopefully of the past for them. When you have a goalie like Luongo in net 1 or 2 goals on a lot of nights may be enough, but the canucks need to find away of putting the puck in the net more consistently. Tonight is opening night for them and a chance to erase all the negative attention the forward lines have had to hear all summer. You would think 49 wins last season would be enough proof that this team can be a real contender, at least I think they are. I just think they need more offense from someone other than the Sedin twins.
San Jose will have to shoot the puck a lot tonight. I love the way Pavelski and Mitchell are not afraid to shoot the puck. Even if it is not a high percentage shot, at least you make the goalie make a save and most likely get a face-off out of it. Many goals are scored off the face-off. San Jose will have to do a better job controlling the puck. Turn-overs cost them way to many odd man rushes last night. The defense needs to stay responsible and the forwards need to make sure they back check. Vlasic and Carle played a ton of minutes last night and will need to do the same tonight. Those two are studs and are 2 players Wilson rarely has to worry about. The first line will most likely stay intact and will have to remember to move and not stand around and wait for Thornton to make things happen. Cheechoo can be guilty of this at times. Marleau has such a quick release he may become Thornton's go to guy.
Ok enough of my rambling, here are my keys to the game.....
1. Puck Control: When you clear a puck, make sure you clear the puck. Defensive zone turnovers have been a problem of the Sharks. Neutral zone turnovers must be minimized as well way to many odd man rushes last night.
2. Traffic : San Jose must get people in front of Luongo. He will stop 99 out of 100 if he can see them.
3. Do not play it safe : San Jose has to take some chances, they have the talent to make big plays. To often the team sits back and if you sit back and play it safe against Luongo, it's not going to end well. Lots of shots tonight boys.
Have a good day, and GO SHARKS !