Saturday, May 03, 2008

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.

Pretty impressive.

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.

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At 2:09 a.m., May 03, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

James, is great but unfortunately not omniscient; is there any way to know how often a 3-0 series ends up going 6 or 7 games given the overall outcome of the stat? (I ask, with a twinge of nervousness for the Penguins...)

At 2:20 a.m., May 03, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the anonymous first commenter:

The Sharks radio guys were sharing stats after the game was over. They said only 10 teams in NHL history have ever pushed a game 6 after going down 0-3, and I believe only 4 of those have ever pushed it to game 7. And everyone knows about the 2 teams of those 10 that came back to win it.

At 11:06 a.m., May 03, 2008, Anonymous vadim sharifijanov said...

well, if anyone can choke away a 3-0 series lead, it's the dallas stars and that poor maligned marty turco.

At 11:25 a.m., May 03, 2008, Blogger HockeyTownTodd said...

History and Stats are fun, but let's not overlook the fact that those were in a different game.

How many teams have come back in the new NHL? How many since the officiating was expanded to 2 referees? How many since they started micro-managing from Toronto?
How many since they started killing the momentum with 3 minute review delays after a goal is scored? How many since the NHL declared open season on the Netminders.

I would not be at all surprised to see SJ or the Rangers come back and win in 7 this year. Montreal
down 3-1 may be thinking Boston Red Sox, along with the Rangers...
But I am thinking Detroit Tigers, and what happened to them in the playoffs after winning 7 straight like the Pens.

At 1:06 p.m., May 03, 2008, Anonymous cupster33 said...

Well the turco of old has reared it's ugly playoff head again it just might be the break the sharks have been looking for. (shoot high) stick of glove it don't matter.

At 2:10 p.m., May 03, 2008, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

I just found out that Dallas acquired Brad Winchester at some point. Given that I refuse, on principle, to root for any team employing Winchester, go Sharks.

At 3:49 p.m., May 03, 2008, Blogger I Have Kasparaitis said...

Just because the Pens played an iffy game doesn't mean they are going to blow it. I didn't expect a sweep and I'm pretty sure no one else was calling it. The Pens are resilient and will back bounce from the loss at the Mellon. The Pens weren't playing their best, but Therrien will not let them play like that without getting a mouthful. He knows how to coach and play with their strengths and weaknesses. Note that the game is played at Mellon Arena.

About the Sharks, I still think they have potential to win. Turco is good but an OT win for the Sharks is really an energy boost for them.

At 8:15 p.m., May 03, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I take it back; you can find the info on whowins provided you check at the right time in a looks like 11 NHL teams out of the 52 who forced a Game 5 forced a Game 6 (21.2%)...and then 5 of those 11 forced a Game 7, actually (45.5%). Not that it's a very wide statistical sample, but of course, the rest is history....


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