The Sharks: Game One
I don’t think the Vancouver players needed the confidence boost, but the fans in my living room feel a lot better about this series after the first game than before it. It was an excellent playoff game – very intense, with great pace and tension. Through the first half, the game was fairly even – if anything the Canucks had a slight edge. The Sharks led on the scoreboard thanks to a Luongo gaffe and a bad Mason Raymond penalty.
In the second half, the Canucks were by far the better team and, eventually, they were rewarded for it. San Jose coach Todd McLellan said that he thought his team was “sluggish” in the third period. Shark fans had better hope he is right. The alternative explanation is that Vancouver found another gear and took an already fast paced game to another level, a level that the Sharks just couldn’t match.
That’s the Vancouver team we saw all year. Excellent speed and work ethic, a wide territorial advantage, a mobile physical defense, a timely save or two, and a dollop of Sedinery is the recipe for a well deserved victory.
Postscript: Joe Thornton played well and Logan Couture had a moment or two, but most of the Sharks were ineffective. If Ryan Clowe and Dany Heatley don’t get a lot better this series won’t be as close as we all expect.