Are the Sharks taking Game 1 loss too well?


nabokovsad.jpgThe San Jose Sharks might have lost to the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 yesterday, but they showed plenty of energy and put 45 shots on Antti Niemi. It would be silly if the team was in a state of chaos and panic after losing a game they played so well.

That being said, every game in the Western Conference finals is a big one. It is probably fair, then, that Cam Inman of the Mercury News blasted the team for taking the loss a little too much in stride.

Ho hum, another Game 1 defeat. They’ll get ’em next time. These things happen. No biggie. They played well, just not well enough to outscore their opponent.

Such dismissals are embarrassing. These are not just games on the ledger. These are the Stanley Cup playoff semifinals, if that is what they call this seemingly crucial stage.

The Sharks’ only other trip to the conference finals, in 2004, also started with a Game 1 home defeat. Then came a Game 2 home defeat, followed by two road wins, a Game 5 home defeat and a Game 6 exit against the Calgary Flames.

A couple years later, the Sharks changed their logo. They should do so again. Instead of an angry shark chomping a stick, the new one might as well be a cute sea horse biting its lip.

Harsh, but fair? It’s hard to imagine that Niemi will be able to perform on that Game 1 level for a lot longer, but the Chicago Blackhawks are capable of putting up a lot of offense on any given night too. With a team as strong as Chicago, any time you outplay them yet don’t come away with a victory, it hurts even worse than if that happened with … say, the Colorado Avalanche.

That being said, it’s only one game. If the tiny margin of error in Game 1 is any indication, this could be a long series. Now, if the Sharks go down 0-2 at home, it might be time to hit the panic button.

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

Justin Abdelkader
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In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal

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Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: