Even though my prediction of a mere 5-game series didn’t come true, the Sharks still handily eliminated the Avalanche in 6, after bouncing back from a demoralizing fluke goal on a baffled Nabakov. The Red Wings upset the Coyotes tonight in a blowout 6-1 game 7, which means the Sharks face the Red Wings in round 2 of the playoffs.
As any Sharks fan knows, the Sharks have a bad record when facing the Red Wings. And in recent playoff history, I remember the sleepless nights of anger following the Sharks blowing a 2 games to 0 lead over the Red Wings in the 2007 semifinals. I had nightmares of game 4 when within seconds of the winning, the Sharks allowed the Red Wings to tie it (video)…and of course the Red Wings proceeded to win in OT. There went the momentum of the series, and the rest is Ducks history.
But that was 2007 and though it was a great Sharks team (grumble, grumble), it was a different Sharks team. Like Peterson of the Merc said, Sharks should want to face Red Wings and banish their demons.
The Sharks have a 2nd and 3rd line that have stepped it up in the playoffs, so if the 1st line could just get going, they’d give that rookie goaltender a nice barrage of shots as they did on Anderson. Thornton who has been working hard all series, should have things start up for him against the Red Wings. Heatley has had a lot of time to heal up, and Marleau, who has struggled so far, has just scored his first of these playoffs, so hopefully that was the spark he needed to start his more typical playoff scoring.
So tomorrow, the rested Sharks will play game 1 against the weary Wings, who are just coming off battling through 7 games.
My prediction: Like this epic depiction of Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, it’ll be quite the battle, but Sharks win it in 6.