SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 16: Scott Nichol #21 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Colorado Avalanche in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at HP Pavilion on April 16, 2010 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/ Getty Images)
Today's Game 1 is the start of what will surely be an entertaining, tiring, closely played, and incredible series. Yes, I went with an obscure song title to be the theme. For those that don't know, its Brand New's "Jaws Theme Swimming".
- In a car outside, we stalk the idle kind...That's kind of the way I think of Pavel Datsyuk's mindset sometimes. He stalks opposing forwards and defensemen, waiting for any slip-up before he takes it the other way. That's what makes him one of the toughest players to play against in the league; you have to know where he is at both ends of the ice or you'll end up paying for it.
- If you're leaving, just let me know...Line changes will be a big part of this series as the Sharks have a lot more talent top to bottom than the Coyotes do. The Wings got a way with some matchups in the Phoenix series in which the Coyotes last change allowed them to put their top guys out against guys that they outmatched on Detroit. Detroit will need good line changes if the Sharks do the same and try to put out their best lines against the lower lines.
- And I've seen what happens to the wicked and proud...They score on their own goalie. Here's looking at you, Dan Boyle. Boyle fell out of favor for me for two reasons. 1.) He's got a douchebag attitude at times. 2.) This. Just keep playing, you're winning 7-3; don't try to slam the guys skull onto the ice.
- When they try to take on the throne for the crown...They get shut down by Jaroslav Halak. Halak did that three games in a row against the Washington Capitals and helped the Montreal Canadiens advance to the next round over the #1 seed. Halak stopped 131 of 134 in those final three games, giving up just one goal each game.
- And we learn as we age...Happy belated birthday to Nicklas Lidstrom. Lidstrom celebrated his 40th birthday yesterday. As one of the game's elder statesmen, he's still one of the best defenders in the league--even if the Norris Trophy nominations don't indicate that. Lidstrom will be crucial in this series as he goes up against the guys like "Jumbo" Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau, and Joe Pavelski.
- We've learned nothing...in terms of predictability in this year's playoffs so far. The Sharks didn't fold as many expected, the Caps inexplicably lost a 3-1 series lead, the Devils got worked by the Flyers with ease, the Sabres fell apart against the Bruins, and three goal leads aren't safe against the Penguins.
- And my body still aches...Fear The Fin is the SB Nation Sharks blog.
- And you take cause they give...The Wings need to take whatever San Jose gives them in the offensive zone. San Jose let a pretty good amount of shots on goal during the regular season and the Wings put a lot on net in the regular season. Use that to the advantage and keep the pressure in the San Jose end and limit how much the Sharks top guys touch the puck.
- Though I love you...you've got to do a bit more offensively, Dan Cleary. Cleary didn't register a single point in the Phoenix series. Not a complete hack on him, just a wish that he would turn his offense on because of what he's done in post-seasons past.
- My body leaks like a sieve...That's what the Red Wings will hope for out of Evgeni Nabokov. The Wings are surely going to put as much pressure on "Nabby" as possible and hope that Olympic Nabokov returns. Babcock's system worked incredibly well against Nabokov's aggressive style in the Olympics. See if he tries to implement that again.
- And everything I've said about how messed up your head is...You've played pretty damn well in the first round, Andreas Lilja. Lilja's played solid all around in the first round, breaking even the entire series in +/- and although he had some dumb (and costly) penalties he moved the puck well and positioned well in the defensive end.
- Was cut up and left in bits and pieces...That's what the Wings did to the Coyotes defense with their passing. They need more of that against the Sharks to stretch the defense and work the middle of the ice open. Opening up the shooting lanes will pay off and passing extensively to draw defenders out is the best way to do so.
- On the cutting room floor...okay, this is unrelated to the game but still hilarious: