Sunday, December 16, 2007

Live-bloggin': Sharks @ Anaheim, 12/16

So I'll be live-blogging tonight's game between the Sharks and Ducks, a contest mostly notable for Scott Niedermayer's 2006-07 debut. Doug Weight, whose acquisition from St. Louis in exchange for Andy McDonald on Friday was instrumental in freeing up tagging space for Niedermayer's return, is also slated to make his Ducks debut. The Sharks, meanwhile, are coming off a wildly entertaining, yet eventually dissapointing loss to Dallas, leaving them two points behind the Division-leading Stars, but with two games in hand. Almost every game between San Jose and Anaheim over the last year or so have had playoff-level atmosphere and with so many additional storylines in play tonight, this should really be a good one.

4:56 FSN Bay Area has opted to run "Best Damn Sports Show" re-runs in lieu of any form of pre-game show, so I suppose I'll share some insight before the game. Doug Wilson is indisputably one of the smartest general managers in the NHL, but the contract extension he handed Matt Carle last month is one he will likely live to regret. Carle has been spending the last week or so largely in the press box and when he does get into the action, like yesterday, he has been atrocious. Now sophomore slumps are far from uncommon, but Wilson's decision to extend Carle far before he even became an RFA seems questionable nonetheless. We'll see how the rest of the season plays out for him, but I believe this deal will shape up as one of the few low-lights in Wilson's managerial career.

5:03 Randy and Drew talk about the ridiculousness of the Ducks' defense. Mike Chen had a post earlier this week comparing the Ducks' top three of Chris Pronger, Niedermayer and Mathieu Schneider to the Avs defense of yore, which boasted Ray Bourque, Rob Blake and Adam Foote and that's certainly a fair comparison, but in my opinion, Anaheim's blueline is superior, especially when factoring in Francois Beauchemin and underrated stay-at-homer Sean O'Donnell. We'll get a first-ever look at this unit tonight. I'd assume Randy Carlyle would re-unite Beauchemin with Niedermayer, and allow Pronger a more stay-at-home role if paired with Schneider, but we'll see.

5:08 Nabokov will be making his 32nd straight start. 50 more to go, Nabby!

5:09 Apparently Ron Wilson reads this blog as Carle is a healthy scratch.

5:10 Nabokov's play with the puck early has been precarious. The Sharks are lucky Nabby's turnover to Corey Perry didn't result in something more significant.

5:13 Whereas the Sharks started with tremendous intensity and reckless abandon last game, it's been dump-and-chase hockey thus far in this one.

5:14 Alert the media! George Parros has shaved the mullet! I repeat, Parros is sans mullet! The stash is apparently still there, however.

5:15 Mathieu Schneider apparently still thinks he's in Detroit, attempting to play caroms off the board every other shift.

5:21 Goc has been looking far more like a former first-rounder in the last few games, centering a line with Patrick Marleau and Steve Bernier.

5:22 The most penalized team in the NHL will be heading back to the penalty box and the Sharks get their first power play of the night.

5:23 Michalek slashes Chris Pronger and that's the end of that man advantage.

5:27 Shane Hnidy gets owned by Rob Davison.

5:29 After the Sharks get a slew of chances in close on Giguere, Weight throws it to Bobby Ryan and it's 1-0 Anaheim.

5:30 Randy Hahn isn't having one of his better games at the booth. After referring to a Sharks' 4-on-4 chance as shorthanded and calling Steve Bernier Sandis Ozolinsh, Hahn used "A Ryane Clowe goal puts the Ducks up 1-0" as a segway into a commerical break.

5:32 These wireless poll questions are getting tiring. Tonight's asks a Sharks fan-dominated audience who will win the Pacific.

5:33 Sharks get their second power-play of the night with a great chance to tie the game.

5:36 A failure to get to the front of the net (or "penetrate the box" as Remenda puts it) renders the Sharks largely listless, but it looks like they'll get another chance with Corey Perry headed to the box.

5:38 Well, this is bullshit. Perry punches McLaren on the Sharks bench and somehow Sandis Ozolinsh ends up with the penalty. Insane.

5:41 Michalek is tripped up on a breakaway and is awarded a penalty shot.

5:42 A pathetic excuse for a penalty shot attempt by Michalek is stopped by Giguere but the Sharks will get their fourth power play of the period on a subsequent play.

5:44 The bulk of the man-advantage time, however, will come in the second period as the first period ends with the Ducks holding a 1-0 lead. The Sharks didn't show much semblance of the urgency that was their MO against Dallas, but they limited the Ducks to very few scoring chances.

6:02 Second period about to get underway and the Sharks will start with about 1:51 of power play time. This would be an opportune moment for the Sharks to get on the board.

6:05 Another horrible power play that generates far more chances for Anaheim than San Jose.

6:07 Ducks showing terrific jump in the second period and have dominated San Jose. The Sharks need to start getting bodies to the net rather than the incessant dump-in strategy RW seems to be employing.

6:09 Michalek takes a high-sticking penalty and the Ducks' power play is back on the ice.

6:11 SCOOOOOOREEEEE!!! Torrey Mitchell with a beautiful highlight-reel goal. Mitchell is shaping up to be a Duck-killer with three goals in three career games against Anaheim, this one coming shorthanded. It's 1-1.

Bertuzzi gets called for holding to neutralize the remainder of the Ducks' power play.

6:15 Sharks' power play has looked even more futile than usual tonight, but it looks like they'll get a brief 5-on-3 here.

6:20 The Sharks had their chances, but came up empty on the double minor to Marchant.

6:22 For not having played for the Ducks before tonight, Doug Weight is developing tremendous chemistry with Bobby Ryan and Todd Bertuzzi.

6:33 Kyle McLaren and Corey Perry, who have been going at it all night, threaten to drop the gloves, with Travis Moen coming in for Anaheim and Evgeni Nabokov inexplicably throwing a punch or two at Perry. Suffice to say, things are starting to heat up.

6:37 Sharks end up with a power play after all that, which will carry over to the third period. Overall, a solid second period for San Jose, although they weren't able to generate many more chances than the Mitchell goal. It stays 1-1 heading into the third.

6:55 Sharks get a Craig Rivet shot to the net early on the power play but are having more setup trouble.

7:00 The Sharks have certainly shown more jump in the third period, but it's been fruitless so far.

7:06 Bernier with a near-breakaway, but the Sharks forward opts to curl back at the blueline rather inexplicably.

7:13 Scott Niedermayer will take a trip to the penalty box after hooking Milan Michalek and the Sharks' listless power play will take the ice for a sixth time.

7:16 A much better looking power play yields solid chances by Milan Michalek and Joe Pavelski.

7:19 What was arguably the best Sharks power play of the night ended without a goal, but it looks like they'll be going back on the man advantage.

7:22 Apparently it's the Ducks who will be going on the power play, but their man advantage has been equally fruitless tonight.

7:28 For the third consecutive Sharks-Ducks contest, we'll go to overtime as Nabokov overturned a flurry of Ducks chances late in regulation. The Sharks looked to have some momentum generating directly preceding that final push by Anaheim, but this is decidedly a poor outcome for the Sharks, who, with the exception of a shootout win in Dallas earlier this season, have been futile in games that go to the extra period.

7:31 Both teams with great chances early in overtime, but both goalies have stood strong thus far.

7:36 Horrible play by the Sharks late in overtime and they'll like be punished with a shootout loss. If I'm Ron Wilson, I go completely off the charts with something like Rob Davison, Torrey Mitchell and Steve Bernier. The usual fare of Patrick Marleau, Milan Michalek et al has not even remotely cut it this season. We'll see what RW does.

7:40 Todd Bertuzzi will shoot first for Anaheim. A beastly backhand puts the Ducks up 1-0 in the shootout.

7:41 Torrey Mitchell fails to respond for the Sharks and the Ducks have a chance to take a stranglehold on this shootout.

7:42 Doug Weight is stoned by Evgeni Nabokov and it stays 1-0.

7:43 JoePa goes five-hole and it's 1-1.

7:43 Ryan Getzlaf hits the post and the Sharks can win on a goal by Setoguchi.

7:43 Giguere makes the save to prolong the shootout.

7:44 Corey Perry with a great goal cutting wide initially and the Ducks take a 2-1 lead.

7:44 MARLEAU! And the Sharks tie the shootout 2-2.

7:45 Bobby Ryan's shot goes a country mile wide.

7:45 Rissmiller stopped on his first career shootout attempt.

7:45 Chris Kunitz shoots the puck wide once again.

7:46 BIG JOE!!!! And the Sharks win a game that they performed rather underwhelmingly in. Definitely a huge win for the Sharks. It pulls them back into a tie with Dallas for the division lead with the chance to build a lead upon the Stars when the Ducks visit San Jose on Tuesday. It certainly wasn't an all-around great effort, but the Sharks got it done and win just their second shootout of the season.

No comments: