For those who do not know, Chompboard was once the biggest Sharks forum on the internet. Sadly, for reasons unknown, it shut down a few years back. It was a forum I frequented quite a bit. I named this blog in it's memory, and as an invite to former Chompboard members to join us on this great forum
Yes, that is an old picture of Nabokov, but it remains my favorite Picture with the Shark jaws of all time. Seems appropriate.
Game 3 is upon us tonight, and the Sharks thus far have looked amazing. A deeper, faster SJ team than any we have previously seen. Indeed, all 12 shark forwards have at least 2 points.
To recap game 1, the Sharks looked dominant for the first 2 periods and took their foot off the gas in the third, winning by 6-3.
Game 2 saw more shark control in the first, yet we were down 2-0. Then blazed ahead for 7 straight goals, winning 7-2.
Last year, the Sharks scored 10 goals total in 7 games against Quick. It is quite eye opening to see scores like that.
With a combined 214 hits in the first two games, it has been a physical but clean series. Outside of a few incidents like Richards spearing Couture.
Game 3 is the first of the series in LA, where Sutter will control the matchups. Thus far, the hardest hitting series in the playoffs. This will be a real test for San Jose, as in home games they have been able to surgically dismantle Quick an the more gariatric Kings defenders with speed and east/west plays.
I have been calling for the removal of Sheppard from the lineup and inserting Havlat, but as the old saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Sheppard made some questionable 3rd period decisions in game 1(In fact, he was on the ice for every kings goal) and he is below average defensively. But at least he can play physically and along the boards. Havlat is equally below average in his own end, and avoids physical contact like the plague(With good reason. We call him Mr. Glass), but he is able to bring an offensive upside beyond Sheppard and can execute those types of transition passes that ruin the LA defense.
How Tmac will approach game 3, who can say. Sheppard and Brown will be the two Sutter is trying to get Kopitar's line out against. Brown has earned his spot in both games. The bigger question is, will Tmac move Pavelski to 3c? Currently on Thornton's wing with Burns at RW, that line has been great. As has the 2nd line of Marleau/Couture/Nieto. Nieto's speed with Marleau has been a joy to watch. Couture is Couture. Below average skating, but with incredible hockey sense and awareness. The line has gelled so well that breaking it up would be ridiculous. The 4th line has been better than I ever Imagined. Torres could be a 2nd line winger on many teams. If he keeps playing the edge, but not jumping over it(See Cooke last night) it could be the best 4th line in the NHL. Desjardins has been great and Brown has been, well, sending guys bowling into Quick.
The defensive pairings are locked, mostly due to effectiveness. Demers needs Vlasic, and they just work. Vlasic has jumped into the play offensive more than in the past as well. hope to see this become a trend. Stuart/Braun......well, Braun would jump into the play more if he trusted Stuart, but Braun has become our 2nd best shutdown guy as well. Then the old guard pairing of Hannan/Boyle, which has given me fits defensively due to Boyle slowing reaction time, but has been okay.
All in all, I look forward to game 3 at the staples center. This team has come together and gelled at just the right time.
GO SHARKS GO!