Well, we've got an even series as I think pretty much everyone expected. There was a short instance when I thought that maybe the Sharks would pull off the double upset at Joe Louis, but I'm not one to get too high or too low about this stuff. We stole one from one of the toughest buildings in the NHL and that's a great start, so I'm not complaining. Some random observations:
- Game 1, despite the Sharks win, was a really boring game. It seemed to be very passionless from both sides, like the Sharks were resigned to a defensive shell, and the Wings were resigned to kinda trying but not really. Game 2 was much more of what I was expecting.
- That opening ten minutes of Game 2 was really, really crappy from the Sharks perspective. They got scrambly and started bunching up and chasing the puck and all sorts of bad stuff happens.
- Bad turnover of the series #1: Dominik Hasek goes for an adventure.
- Bad turnover of the series #2: The Sharks try to clear and Mark Bell trucks forward but can't catch up to it, leading to the Pavel Datsyuk goal.
- The insertion of Bell was an interesting decision. If he really has had hip/groin problems bothering him all season, that would explain why he looks awkward trying to do crossovers or sharp turns. Or maybe he's just regressing as his confidence disappears. He had a few good shifts at the end of the second, but there's some weird bad mojo whenever he's in the lineup. Ron Wilson can say that he was inserted to be more physical but I noticed that Joe Pavelski didn't skate the second half of Game 1, making me think that he was injured again. [update] I just double-checked the shift chart for Game 1 and Pavelski had two shifts in the early third and that's it. Haven't seen any word about him being injured though.
- You know, I know he's The Dominator and all, but Hasek still doesn't scare me that much. It's more the defense of Nicklas Lidstrom and the Kris Draper line that scare me (and really, it's more of an irritant because they're so good at what they do).
- What's with the lower bowl Joe Louis Arena fans standing up and waving at random moments? Especially the ones RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA. That's really, really, irritating.
- A lot of good hitting from Mike Grier, Patrick Rissmiller, and even Patrick Marleau getting into the mix. Steve Bernier's gotta start throwing his body around more. Why isn't he winning battles on the boards?
- I don't think Jonathan Cheechoo's got many shots off this series. He's either flubbed them or got them blocked. I wonder how much that knee is still bothering him because that has to affect how fast he can perform the necessary weight transfer for a good shot.
- My power play concerns from the Nashville series are pretty much gone. Even though the Sharks didn't score in Game 2, they had some good possession time and some good movement. I think they work much better when they get away from the traditional two point formation and go into the umbrella. It forces them to rotate more, which helps their creativity.
Back in San Jose, I'm hoping Ron Wilson can use the last-change advantage to sneak in some extra ice time for Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau on the other lines. I'm sure there will be the usual crop of annoying Red Wing fans invading the Tank. Sharks fans, take some solace in the fact that they're pretty much paying between $150 - $700 per ticket depending on where they sit thanks to the legalized scalping of the Sharks ticket trader. Of course, that's not TOO much off from the Joe Louis Arena's ridiculous price bumps, but still, it's nice to know that whatever Wing fans show up will have their wallets gouged.