3/3/11 SHARKS 3, detroit 1
For the players, Detroit is always towards the top of the standings, as they have been for the last bajillion years (except when they sucked and that's why nobody went to the games [cause they still don't go, but there's no real reason why]), so its easy for the players to get up for a challenge like that.
For the fans, Wings fans seemingly come out of the woodwork for games in which their team plays the Sharks, mainly because so many transplants live here (because who would want to live in Detroit when you could live in California?). Wings fans, in my experiences, are one of the least enjoyable fan bases to come into contact with, because they're not knowledgeable, not reasonable, and not sober. This game proved no different, as I saw at least three sets of Detroit fans escorted out of the building by the superheroes in purple coats (they're not blue, you won't convince me otherwise) because they had ever so slightly too much to drink.
To the game itself, the Sharks looked, well, good. They played 60 minutes, which is all you can ask from your hockey team, unless of course the game goes to overtime, in which preferably they play all of those minutes too. Dany Heatley looked good in particular, deciding to making Thursday his one of the next few games in which he's actually going to play hard. Two goals and a buncha great backchecks later, and he's the f***ing all-star that he claimed to be a couple summers ago. Antti Niemi looked good in his second start since signing a four year extension.
Sure, you could say that the Wings were tired after dropping an overtime contest in Anaheim the night before. Sure, you could say that Jimmy Howard, the Red Wings starting goaltender, wouldn't have shot the puck into his own net by bouncing it off of Patrick Marleau, a skill shot that Joey MacDonald managed to accomplish. But I say, SCOREBOARD.
At the end of the day, the Sharks took three of four from Detroit this year, including both games at Joe Louis, and now have won eight of the last ten games they've played against the Winged Wheel (dating back to the playoffs last year). Not too shabby for a team that usually has a mystique that the Sharks cannot crack.
Another big ole nemesis of the Sharks are in town tonight in the form of the Dallas Stars (boo). Dallas has had an up and down year, and fortunately for Sharks fans, the last couple months have been down. The Stars (boo) have fallen out of the division lead, and slipped all the way to 8th. They were believed to be dumping Brad Richards at the deadline, but much to many people's surprise, he was retained. They did move James Neal and Matt Niskanen to Pittsburgh for Alex GeeGoliGoshski, a move that signifies a team that is aiming for the playoffs. Depending on how things shake out, this could be a preview of a first round matchup in those aforementioned playoffs.
(WE BOO THE WORD STARS, NOT THE NATIONAL ANTHEM, UNBUNCH YOUR PANTIES)