Trying to resist the puns and play on words associated with playing a team with so many open doors (title could have been "Shark Tail of Two Teams" or something). Anyway, Khan(!) is up early this morning...
There is, however, one major difference between the clubs heading into their Western Conference semifinal series: The Red Wings are a playoff-proven team that continually has delivered in the clutch, while the Sharks have yet to shed their label as perennial postseason underachievers.
The newly extended GM Ken "Tick Tock" Holland spoke about his team:
"We're feeling good about ourselves, but fully understanding the opponent you meet in the second round is feeling good about themselves and you have to take your game up a notch. They've been a tremendous team for years, and we know them well. They know us well, too. As the (Phoenix) series wore on, I thought we were getting better. When we really needed to step up our game and get big performances from certain players, we got it.''
Zetterberg and Datsyuk combined for 19 points in Round 1. Zetterberg notched 6 goals while Datsyuk added 5. On the other side, the top forward line for the Seafood managed just over half the points (1 goal, 9 assists) between Heatley, Thornton, and Marleau. And that was against a much weaker team than Phoenix. So everybody is asking themselves if this will be the breakout party for Jumbo Joe. Marleau and Heatley have had success (individually) in the play-offs, but for Joe Thornton? Zippo.
Like Chris said last night, if the Tuesday Wings show up? San Jose doesn't stand a chance. If the Sunday Wings come to the rink tonight, this could be a bad night. Detroit certainly kicked it into high gear for Game 7...if they can keep it in that gear, there's no one that can hang with them.
We are playing Nabokov, remember. So we're going to "need more shoot" tonight. We already defeated the best Russian goalie in the world, now it's time to keep the San Jose doubters doubting.
This series will be all about heart. Oh and injuries and officiating, as per usual.