Holy sh%! can the Sharks actually beat the Hawks?

21 Feb
http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-02-15/sports/37125954_1_jonathan-toews-blackhawks-marcus-kruger

Chicago beat San Jose last Friday 4-1.

There’s no question that the Sharks can beat the Hawks. The question is, which Sharks team will show up?

Will the Sharks team taking the ice in Chicago tomorrow night be the team that’s always moving, both with and without the puck, the team that scores goals in bunches, or will it be the stagnant team that lacks the ability to get shots through to the net?

Tomorrow night is going to be huge. I don’t want to over exaggerate, but the outcome of this game can dictate the rest of this shortened season.

Will the Sharks turn their season around, get hot again, and ultimately sweep through the playoffs to their first Stanley Cup?

Or will they dive into a never-ending tailspin, lose the rest of their games, and blow up their entire roster for cap space and draft picks?

OK, neither one of those scenarios is likely to happen, but there’s a lot at stake here. The Sharks have to be hungry for redemption after already suffering two losses to the Hawks. They’re out to prove to the hockey world that they are worth taking seriously again.

But what’s it going to take? How are the Sharks going to take down the NHL’s best team as they go for an NHL-record 17th straight game without a regulation loss?

Energy, first of all. The Hawks have it, the Sharks need it. Even in their victory against the Blues, they looked like a listless bunch, playing a calculated, predictable and frankly, boring game. Without Kennedy’s fluke goal and St. Louis’ unfortunate travel delays, I think the Sharks drop their 8th straight.

I would love to see some intensity out of the top line right out of the gate. Toews has his issues with Thornton, so let’s see Jumbo draw some penalties without taking some of his own.

Let’s get the power play rolling again. What started off as a flowing, constantly moving unit at the beginning of the season, has regressed back to a static, predictable, and easy to beat “advantage.” No movement = no shooting lanes.

I believe in this team. I really do. If the Sharks take out the Hawks tomorrow, I do believe it’s a turning point in the season, and is a huge confidence boost moving forward and into the playoffs (yes, the Sharks will be there). I don’t want another scenario where the Sharks get zero wins against a team in the regular season only to meet them again in the playoffs.

I say Clowe gets it going, and puts in his first two of the season. Gomez will also chip in with an assist.

(Inaccurate) Prediction: Sharks win 3-2, giving Chicago their first regulation loss.

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