Talk about a roller coaster, that game ran the gamut of ups, downs, twists, turns and periods of outright disappointment. Admittedly I came in to the game in a bad mood, having sat in traffic for TWO HOURS prior and arriving just in time to not be able to grab food. (They took away my Una Mas! NACHOS DENIED!) Happily, I can still scale chairs with the best of them, despite the growing bowling ball in my belly. Unhappily the Sharks saw fit to shove us in the exact middle of a row this season. My bladder laments its past freedom. But anyway, who wants to hear about bladders and traffic? Let's talk about the game, shall we?
The Sharks did a nice little ceremony, introducing all the players to the crowd before the Yotes took to the ice. Familiar faces got bigger cheers that new ones, but the two loudest cheers came when they announced Patrick Marleau's name and Joe Thornton's. Patty smiled a huge warm smile at the crowd's reaction. It wasn't even awkward, just beautiful. They also did a little "sorry for the inconvenience video which was nice but clinical. Danny B brought in a new video entrance to the game which was amusingly awkward. San Jose Taiko then got things rolling with an awesome drum performance. All in all, a nice start to a long awaited home opener.
Hats were the freebie item of choice, leaving me with so many Sharks caps I'm not sure what to do with them all. Mystery pucks were also available for those of us not stuck on 101 for TWO FREAKING HOURS. (I only had to go like 35 miles. Screw you Bay Area traffic)
Things got off to a rough start. The Sharks looked less crisp and a tad discombobulated. They had a tendency to spend way too much time in their zone as the Yotes controlled much of the game with their aggressive play. They took a 1-1 tie into the second intermission, but doom was soon to follow.
The Sharks gave up two more unanswered goals in the 3rd to put the Yotes up 3-1. Things looked pretty grim. The Sharks were scattered, the Yotes were pressuring and I'm pretty sure the ice was dramatically titled to one side. My gloom was expansive. Then, suddenly, the beast that is Marleau awoke.
The Sharks brought it to 2-3 on an even strength beauty. Havlat scored next bringing the game to 3-3. After staying 3-3 for a few minutes, Mina started to ask if the game was going to go to a shootout, but stopped before she said those dangerous words. Fear not, for Marleau was on the case. He scored again to make it 4-3. LaBarbera smashed his stick to the ice in frustration. The crowd went wild. No, seriously. We went nuts. WAS THIS REAL LIFE?! Yes, yes it was, and just to drive that point home, Joe Thornton scored an empty netter to make the final score 5-3. Fan-fucking-tastic.
After the game and thelong awaited team salute to the fans, Jumbo grabbed the mic and thanked all the fans for coming out and sticking witht he Sharks throughout the lockout. Best fans in the NHL. That was pretty awesome.
All in all, a good return to hockey here in the South Bay. Let's keep this momentum going, Sharks! Whooo!