If there’s a must-win game for the Sharks in this shortened season, it’s this one.
The Sharks are back in HP Pavilion where they are 5-1-2 on the season. They’re playing a Colorado Avalanche team ranked 14th in the Western Conference with 16 points (although to be fair, the Sharks sit at 9th in the West with 19 points). They shut out the Avs 4-0 in the Tank back on January 26. The Sharks haven’t scored more than two goals in seven games, and were shut out twice in that span.
Of course, the last time these two teams met, the Sharks’ offense was cranking at an insane pace, and Patrick Marleau was on his incredible goal scoring streak.
Needless to say, things have changed since.
With Ryane Clowe serving the second game of his two-game suspension, I’m really interested to see how this second line comes out. If it’s the same second line that came out against Dallas, I hope they’re able to get some more scoring chances and better looks at the net. This line is full of playmakers, but someone needs to stop looking for a pretty play and just shoot the fucking puck. In other words, someone on this line needs to score tonight.
The third line should also be interesting again. After taking a hard spill into the boards, it looks like Tommy Wingels will be out of this game, as he missed the morning skate, with James Sheppard taking his place. I actually really like a line of Kennedy-Handzus-Sheppard, and hope that at some point, Gomez will get a chance to center that line.
On the defensive side, Brent Burns is on IR and Matt Irwin, who scored his first NHL goal against the Avalanche, has been recalled from Worcester (finally). The defense has been surprisingly solid this season, as has the goaltending.
It’s time to get things rolling again offensively. I’d love to write a chipper post-game post. I haven’t had the chance since I started this thing (wait, is this losing streak my fault?)
(Inaccurate) Prediction: Sharks win 3-2 in OT, with goals from Couture and Havlat, and the game-winner from the Big Pavelski.