Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sharks score first win of preseason

The Sharks defeated the Ducks in Anaheim last night by a score of 1-0, registering their first preseason victory this year.

By all accounts, goaltender Thomas Greiss, expected to battle Dimitri Patzold for the Sharks' vacant backup goaltending position, was phenomenal. Although he was only forced to make 19 saves for the shutout, several of them, at least according to Mercury News reporter Mark Emmons, were of the acrobatic variety. This certainly is good news for the young German netminder, especially on the heels of Patzold's 6-5 shootout loss to the Kings Tuesday night, when the Kazakh gave up five tallies and bit hard on a deke by the Kings' Dustin Brown in the shootout.

Now, as I mentioned previously, reading too far into preseason victories can yield disastrous results. However, the Ducks, after trimming 18 players from their training camp roster as the team gears up for their September 29th season opener against the Kings in London, save for third-stringer Jonas Hiller stopping pucks rather than J-S Giguere, iced a lineup that very much resembles the squad that will face Los Angeles in that England opener. Sure, Francois Beauchemin, one of the team's steadier defensemen, wasn't playing, but with Scott Niedermayer, Teemu Selanne and Dustin Penner no longer with the team (regarding the first two, at least not currently) and Sami Pahlsson and Niedermayer replacement Mathieu Schneider injured, the Ducks' roster was essentially complete.

On the other hand, while the Sharks had Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo at their disposal (albeit without a competent left wing), Patrick Marleau, Milan Michalek, Marc-Edouard Vlasic et al were not playing, yet the team still defeated Anaheim 1-0.

Again, reading too much into this game is clearly not the smart thing to do, but it'll be interesting to see if the Ducks fare any better Friday when the teams meet at the Tank.

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