Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sharks-Ducks Redux (Re-Ducks?)

Like last year, the Sharks-Ducks matchup seems to have a little extra 'oomph' than many of the other regular season games. These teams are clearly measuring themselves against each other, and like the other meeting between the two this season, they came out pretty even. I'm sure it was frustrating for the Sharks during the first half of that game because for the most part, the Ducks were shutting the Sharks down defensively.

But the Sharks didn't panic, and this is where I think the last four wins came in handy. They continued to press, didn't overskate or overpursue, and got a nice little redirect from Torrey Mitchell to tie the game at 1. Other than a couple of heart-dropping giveaways by the Sharks, it stayed pretty deadlocked. And the shootout is the shootout- the Sharks suck compared to everybody else.

So what did we learn? Not much. The Sharks and Ducks are pretty closely matched, which is what most (reasonable) people expected. When (I no longer say 'if') Niedermayer and Selanne re-join the team, that may no longer be the case. However, although both teams are a little banged up, I'd say the Sharks were more so than the Ducks, with Rivet, Michalek, and Clowe out. Ducks were missing Schnieder and Bertuzzi. Schneider hurts, but Bertuzzi is a 3rd or 4th liner now, and of limited utility.


Can'tStoptheGrier said...

It was electric at the Tank on Saturday night and both teams played hard. I don't think this will discourage them at all and you're right Mike - the Sharks miss Clowe, Rivet and Michalek much more than the Ducks miss Bertuzzi and Schneider.

Hopefully, the week off will be enough to get Michalek and Rivet back on the ice. I've seen enough Frankenstein (as section 124 has come to call Semenov) for one season.

The Sharks can take something away from this game. Shoot! Shoot the puck, just like the Ducks - who haven't seen a shot they didn't like. They score on redirects, bad bounces and put backs. On the powerplay, the Sharks continue to overpass. Shoot and crash the net - see what happens. If you do that, then the pretty stuff will open up.

Nick said...

I would still put an if on Selanne, but Niedermayer is definitely a when at this point.

The Sharks know they are a good team and I think this can almost work to their disadvantage because they start to play like every goal has to be a pretty goal, or they have to wait for the perfect play to shoot. I completely agree they have to let the rubber fly.

Mike said...

Nick, you hit the nail right on the head. The Sharks desire to make a pretty play explains much of their scoring woes in the first month of the season.