Continuing the preview of the San Jose Sharks, we'll look at the defense for San Jose. As with the goaltending preview, we won't preview the Wings side of things because we've already done that.
#22 / Defenseman / San Jose Sharks
Jul 12, 1976
Sure, go ahead and laugh at Dan Boyle over the semi-own goal against Colorado in overtime. But he'll make you pay. Boyle finished the regular season with 58 points, 4th most among defenders in the NHL. Boyle's got great offensive skills and is a good passer. He's not the best defenseman in the league by any means but is sound and speedy. Boyle's the anchor along with Rob Blake on the Sharks blueline.
Blake, the 6'4 227 lb defenseman, brings the physical side of the Sharks defense and is also a solid defender that can help out at any part of the ice. Douglas Murray is the big hitter on the San Jose blue line, racking up 233 hits over the course of the regular season and isn't deterred by any one headed towards him (he shouldn't be, he's 6'3 240). The Sharks can play physically on defense but that didn't deter the Wings against the Coyotes in the last series so it'll be interesting to see which approach the Sharks take.
Oddly enough, the Sharks allow a lot of shots on goal. Odd in the sense that a team with so much success in the regular season allows so many shots on net. Again, that doesn't necessarily mean they are a team that is bad defensively. Shots on net does create problems though so look for the Wings to exploit that. Even though the Sharks haven't allowed many shots in the postseason, they also played an offense in the first round that was very anemic.
Who to watch: Dan Boyle. Boyle is the catalyst. He's capable of playing great for the Sharks or mediocre. With the Wings offense starting to roll, he's going to need to be great against for the Sharks to win. Others: Marc-Eduoard Vlasic and Kent Huskins
Check back tomorrow for the offense preview, morning skate, and gamethread of course.