The Sharks are coming off one of their biggest win's in franchise history, coming from behind Calgary to beat them 3-2. Game 4 will be remembered by all Sharks fans as the game that truly proved the Sharks have heart, character, determination, and any other adjectives to describe a team that can win the Stanley Cup.
However, nothing is over.
There are still 2 more games to win to advance to the 2nd round. The Sharks can get that 3rd victory at home tonight in front of what will be a deafening, rocking Shark Tank.
For a majority of game 4, I was quite displeased with the effort the Sharks brought. Throughout most of the 1st and 2nd periods, the Flames were controlling the play, forcing the Sharks to take weak shots from the perimeter, while only getting a few chances of their own. However, the Flames finished their opportunites, and hit the crossbar at one point.
I had hope and faith, but still couldn't shake that pit feeling I had in my stomach, and the feeling of deja vu of past playoff seasons.
Until with about 10 minutes left in the 3rd, the captain, Patrick Marleau nearly buried a wide open chance that trickled of his stick. From that point on, the Sharks smelled blood. They were hungry and became desperate.
The Sharks began controlling the play, and I started shouting at the tv, "C'mon guys, I am feeling it! I feel it, I know you all are too! Get a goal! Tie it up!" And the Sharks felt it too. The chances the Sharks were getting were quality because the Sharks started moving and creating chances. Soon thereafter, Setoguchi forces a bad clearing by the defense that Cheechoo smacks home to tie the game!
I jumped up, and all my frustration from games 3, and the majority of game 4 disappeared. I knew the Sharks could come back, and they did.
I will never forget Murray's shot going in as Thornton deflects it with Randy Hahn screaming "THEY SCORE, THEY SCORE, THEY SCORE!" While I was screaming in my own living room. My roomate said he has never seen me look so happy. And that was just winning game 4 and tieing the series. He said we probably need an ambulance on call in the event of the Sharks winning the Stanley Cup because he thinks I may have a heart attack at the age of 20.
I also love how the sea of red went dead silent, and I mean DEAD silent! You could hear a pin drop. It feels good to win a game like that, giving the other team and fans a feeling of heartbreak that has long been felt in San Jose.
Now that the Sharks have proved themselves and tied the series, it is time to really put the Flames on ice.
Game 5, at home, at the Tank. It is a great scenario for the Sharks to feed off the home crowd, control the game, frustrate the Flames, and win with serious momentum into Calgary.
Calgary is not going to roll over tonight, though. The Flames will come out tonight fast and hard again. The Sharks just need to quickly settle into their game, and start taking it to Calgary.
No more sitting back the rest of the way. The reason the Sharks won game 4 was because they started taking the game to the Flames, skating, creating chances, and not giving up. In the last 10 minutes in game 4, the Sharks were relentless.
Tonight, the Sharks need to be relentless once more. The defense needs to play tighter against the Calgary forwards, do not give them any space at all. Big Joe needs to park his big rear in front of Kipper more tonight. He needs to be willing to take a beating in front of the net more and sacrifice himself for some goals. It will work.
Whoever wins tonight, will win this series. I have hope and faith that it will be the Sharks because in all honesty, the Sharks are a better team. Work always triumphs over skill, but when the Sharks add the hard work on top of their skill, they are very, very tough to beat.
All of the loyal, royal, teal-bleeding, towel waving, crazy Sharks fans are ready and pumped for tonight's game.
Tonight, will be a great battle between two great teams.