Let's recap this sucka.
Firstly, there's the matter of uneven penalties. Now personally, I feel, much as I did in the Colorado series, that the differential is largely due to the Sharks FINALLY using both their size and their skill. You frustrate a guy enough and he'll take a penalty. That said, I do think there were a few chincy clals last night on BOTH teams. The Bertuzzi calls, the Heatley call, Marleau for boarding? Yeah, it was weird. (Bertuzzi has a reputation which will likely influence calls going against him, but he deserves every bit of that rep, and he did it to himself. Does that make it fair? No. But I'm not going to be surprised when Bertuzzi gets called for weak stuff. Nor will I feel sorry for him.)
David Pollak, the Sharks beat writer, actually sat down and re-watched the game last night in an effort to get to the bottom of this newest conspiracy. Here's his take. The fact of the matter is, as it was in the series against Colorado, the Sharks deserved the wins. That doesn't make it any less frustrating for the fans of the opposing team, (and considering the Sharks were one of the most penalized teams in the regular season, I think I can indeed sympathize. Believe me when I say some of those were weak ass calls), but the fact is the refs are NOT handing the Sharks the game. The Sharks aren't goons either, though I am slightly amused their getting that rep this post season. Nor are they divers. Many of the "dives" have really been dudes just falling down. Remarkably ice is slippery. That sort of thing can happen. There seems to be no other satisfactory way to explain their winning other than to assume it's by brute force, and few good cannonballs, and poor officiating. These Sharks are the Sharks every fan knew they COULD BE. Now they're here and the rest of the league will just have to deal with it.
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Going into game 2, I think there was an added sense of anticipation. San Jose hasn't won a game 1 of a series since Gutenberg was a household name, and not because of the actor. Winning game 1 injected the fan base with the most electric drug of all: hope.
It wasn't supposed to happen. This team doesn't win. This team can't play when it counts. This team is, and likely always will be, an underdog. When they fail, they satisfy expectations. When they succeed, they defy them.
I will readily admit to nerves heading into game 2. It was the first game since I attended game 2 against Colorado, and the first time I was going to be back amongst the madness since contracting martian spice flu. Our seats were wonderful, high above and slightly to our right of the attack twice net. Wings fans, as always, were present, with one rather loud and verbose fellow located behind us. He was a reasonable enough fellow when not bellowing out "BOARDING!" on any play that remotely resembled contact, regardless of location on the ice, but the idea of him cheering for a win for his team was not one I could stomach. Hearing him boldly predict that not only would Sharks fans not see a win, they would have no need for their "four in the net, pizza you get" coupons, I made a silent decision that the Sharks WOULD win this game. There was simply no other reasonable outcome.
I somehow knew Detroit would score first. Don't ask me how. It was just a feeling. The Sharks came out fast and pounded Howard with pucks, but despite having some good chances early, they just couldn't get anything past him.
But you just KNEW it would happen.
And it did.
As if summoned by the gods themselves, The Big Pavelski stepped up and scored a power play goal at 9:01 of the first to tie the game. The crowd exploded. The gentlemen behind me crossed his arms and sat silently. A small variety of shark suddenly rose from the stands and sailed over the glass, settling on the ice with little to no fanfare from the officials or the players. It was quickly and quietly cleaned up and play resumed. Later I found out that it had a baby octo (also predeceased) stuck in its mouth. At the time I did worry that it's appearance would result in a penalty against the Sharks, but as it seemed to be a one time only thing, no call was made.
Only a minute and a half or so later, Ryane Clowe scored a pimp ass backhand goal. He threw his arms up after it with a look of "That's right, BISH!" A well deserved moment of post goal scoring posturing.
Holmstrom was not amused however, and scored on a Wings Power Play to being the first to an end all tied at 2.
The second was largely the Wings period, and it saw them score the lone goal of the second to go up 3-2. The Sharks did a decent job of keeping up, but the Wings controlled the play well and cut off all the Sharks chances, many times before they could be fully set up.
These aren't your daddy's Sharks though. They came out full of fire in the third. Joe The Big Pavelski scored another power play goal and tied the game at 4:40 in the third. djkdjkdjasdlsadlsdas CROWD ASPLOSION! dsjaksfdjasflksaflsfk
Tied score. Third period. Holy eff.
It is at this point that I realize the game could go to OT. No worries though, there's a 15 minute break between periods, and I'm confident I will be ready for OT about 5 minutes into any potential intermission.
But Jumbo, as if in response to all the hecklers and doubters, scores the game winner on even strength (like Clowe's bas ass goal earlier) at 12:37 and sent the Tank into a frenzy.
Watching the last few minutes of the game tick down was about as tense as it gets. The Wings pressured, but San Jose was not to be deterred, and they refused to give up the tying goal.
Pandemonium doesn't do justice to the feeling in the building after the win last night. Horns blaring outside, fans cheering, high fives with more strangers than would normally seem sane; truly a joyous night on the streets of San Jose.
Odds and ends:
Some fans took objection to Heatley's reluctance when it came to putting a body on opposing players. Watching him skate, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say he's still injured. He's not skating with quite the same confidence he normally does, and you can see him reminding himself to stop short of checking someone. (Please keep in mind that this is my OPINION ONLY. Not a fact)
Joe Thornton was also getting some tough love until he scored.
While waiting for VTA, I overheard some guys discussing the likelihood of whether or not Marleau actually had the flu. They refused to think he could have been sick, insisting he was injured. An older woman next to them kindly reminded them that people do get sick year round, and that barfing is usually not used as an explanation of injury. Nor did the terms upper or lower body injury ever come in to play. Patty was sick. That's it.