Thursday, December 15, 2011
AVS GAMEDAY PRIMER: San Jose Sharks, 12/15/11
The Good Guys: The Avs took a 4-3 decision over the Sharks on Tuesday, the capper coming on a Gabriel Landeskog shootout tally. A late goal by the Sharks (due in part to dreadful plays by both Ryan O'Byrne and Jay McClement...and why are those two out there in the last minute of a one goal game, anyway?) left some with a bad taste in their mouth about the game, but the Avs went into the third period facing a 2-1 deficit. Beggars can't be choosers. Good win for the Burgundy and Blue.
Tonight's Dicks: San Jose comes into tonight's tilt only having won 3 of their past 10, which naturally prompted whispers that Todd McLellan and his salt-and-pepper hair structure may be on the hot seat. This is silly, of course, as the ebb-and-flow of an 82 game season allows for the occasional dry spell. Consider: the currently streaking Bruins went on a similar 3-of-10 streak early in the season, and they pulled through it swimmingly. The Sharks are a good team who usually find a way to beat the Avs...but the Avs also seem to play the Sharks tougher than they play most other teams.
We Like: Gabriel Landeskog's knack for stripping pucks on the poke-check near the blueline; Ilya Bryzgalov, who may be Gozer's long-lost third minion (Keymaster, Gatekeeper, Netminder?); Erik Johnson's game since he returned from his groin injury (intelligent, aggressive); this hat; Sidney Crosby's self-discipline in the face of what must be extraordinary frustration; TJ Galiardi's December; Rob Blake, still (Mueller hit nonwithstanding); watching Patrick Kane.
We Don't Like: Concussions (the "fix" is to allow LIMITED obstruction, and mandatory softer padding); ass-backwards Pat Hickey, and I won't dignify him by linking to his disgusting column; waiting for Joe Pavelski to tear out our still-beating hearts at some point in the 3rd period tonight; Ryan O'Byrne being entrusted to do anything more challenging than keeping a seat in the press box from floating away; the fact that I remember the Avs haven't beaten Calgary this season within a half hour of waking up every single day.
Randomly: Au Bon Pain puts NUTMEG in their macaroni and cheese. I forget the term they use to play that fact up on the menu. Nutmeg is the most underrated ingredient in good egg nog.
Tonight's Hero: a well-overdue Paul Stastny
Tonight's Goat: Shane O'Brien would like to remind you he takes really stupid penalties at really bad times. He will choose tonight to do so.
Final Thought: Not sure if there's a "frequent" playoff opponent of the Avs that I respect more than the Sharks. The two teams have split four meetings in the playoffs, but the Sharks have never been a particularly detestable bunch, like the crybabies in Vancouver, the pricks in Dallas, and Detoilet.
Sharks 4, Avs 2