5/5 WCSF Game 5: DETROIT 4, sharks 1
Well, Happy ****ing Cinco de Mayo.
There was something about this game, the fifth installment of this Sharks/Wings series. Maybe it was losing another game after scoring the first goal, maybe it was letting Wings run rampant in the crease with no cover, maybe it was the heart-dropping-in-a-blender-and-set-to-puree giveaway by a Sharks netminder into the oncoming pursuit of the forechecker. Game 5 was a game not unique, it contained nothing never seen before by Sharks fans. Rather, it was a mish-mash of all the gut-stomping ways to lose a hockey game neatly packaged into a nice little 143 minute ball of pain (for those of us wearing teal, that is).
The Sharks came into the Joe tied at 2 games a piece, and started off decent enough, as they were skating hard, hitting harder, taking shots, and even putting one past the Snow Angel... er, Dominator (Dominik Hasek). Just 5 minutes in, Marcel Goc  put a simple wrister on net, and it found its way past Hasek (Grier, McLaren). The rest of the 1st was a pretty solid effort by the Teal, but, unfortunately, it was the last of that for the afternoon.
The 2nd period began, and with it came the Detroit Red Wings Show. Over the final 2 periods, the Wings outshot the Sharks 25-15, and outscored them 4-0 in the final 40 minutes of play. The Tomas Holmstrom-Pavel Datsyuk-Henrik Zetterberg line (the line that can score like mad at home, but has been invisible on the road) carried the load, as the three players combined for 8 points (3 goals, 5 assists). Hasek and his snow angel style stood tall (or laid down tall, as the case was) making 23 saves. Among the goals scored were three defensive breakdowns that saw a Wing with the puck and WAY too much space in front of the net, and a goal that was painful in its execution, yet unoriginal in its technique. Put simply, a loose puck was coming towards Evgeni Nabokov, and he made his way out to play it. As he did so, Datsyuk was rushing towards the netminder. Trying to slip the puck past Datsyuk, Nabokov played the puck, however, it hit Datsyuk in the arms and with Nabokov out of position, Datsyuk easily put it in the net. This series, recently, has drawn similarities to last year's 2nd round dispatching by the Edmonton Oilers, a comparison the Sharks and their fans want no part of, but that Nabokov giveaway goal can't do anything but reek of last year, when Vesa Toskala played the puck right into the body of Sergei Samsonov, and the Sharks meltdown was on then. If the Sharks want to shed comparison from last year, there will be no meltdown in subsequent games. Nabokov did the best he could, stopping 29 shots in the losing effort.
Speaking of subsequent games, Game 6 is Monday night (at 6:00 Pacific, THANKS VERSUS). The Sharks sit 60 minutes from elimination, and a summer of what-ifs, how-could-theys, and who's-gonna-pays. The keys to the game are simple: Score first, keep the lead, think about something besides hockey AFTER THE GAME. Simple as that. Do those, and win. Don't, and the Tank closes it's doors for hockey until October. If you're going to the game Monday, be loud. Be more than loud, be LOUD. Let your boys hear you, cause they need it now more than ever. If you're not attending the game, be LOUD anyway. You're further away, so you gotta be louder for them to hear you.
GO SHARKS (LOUD)