Sharks pull within one
(2) San Jose v. (5) Dallas
Stars lead series 3-2
There's a bit of a rhythm to every series, and especially so in those that get lopsided quickly.
A team takes a 3-0 lead, and you tune it out — it's over. Who's next?
The team in the hole wins a game, brings it to 3-1, well, okay, there's their last gasp. Given where they're coming from, the odds are so long that it's not worth thinking about. Who's next again?
But when it gets to 3-2, things get intriguing, especially if the favourite is the team clawing back. It's over becomes "what if" — and after a pretty incredible comeback Friday night by the Sharks, they're at that point against the Stars.
Game 6 goes in Dallas on Sunday night, but after coughing up a 2-0 lead in the third period, the Stars appear vulnerable against what was a dominant road team during the year. And should the Sharks win in Texas, the table's set for one of the greatest comebacks ever.
In other words, it's time to start paying attention.
The entertainment value in this series has been questioned quite a bit so far, but it was right up there tonight, and especially in the third period. Brendan Morrow was terrific for the Stars, looking every bit the star he emerged as this season, but so, too, was good ol' greybeard Jeremy Roenick for San Jose.
J.R. averaged under 14 minutes a game all season, sitting every so often and recording 33 points in 69 games, but Ron Wilson's leaned on the 38-year-old heavier since his four-point effort in Game 7 of the first round. Roenick went pointless in the first four games against the Stars, but chipped in a huge assist in Game 5, setting up Brian Campbell's game tier late in the third period with a long bomb, three-line pass.
Roenick played just 13:35, right along his season average, but nearly seven minutes of that came in the third period and first minute of overtime, and he was on the ice for the tying and winning goals.
That's who impressed me. Evgeni Nabokov's someone who certainly hasn't so far in these playoffs, although he was decent Friday night. He'll still be near the league basement in save percentage, but at least the Sharks won a game they were out shot in.
Campbell, too, was better, playing nearly 31 minutes and finishing plus-2. The Sharks defence, in general, has really struggled in this series, especially youngsters Christian Ehrhoff and Marc-Edouard Vlasic — minus-4 and -5 through Games 1 to 4 — but I didn't notice major gaffes in this one.
They need that.
Here was Sharks fan Mike Chen on Friday morning:
If they win, that'll activate the little part in me that goes, "Maybe, just maybe." If things aren't going well, I'm going to take the whole thing in as something that's pretty personal to me, as it may be Jeremy Roenick's last game.Maybe, just maybe.
And J.R. looks far from done.