3 Rounds: Sharks Taking Control

When I made my series preview, I anticipated a very tight battle with the goaltending taking centre stage as these two California powerhouses faced each other for the third time in the last four postseasons. In picking the Sharks to win in seven games, I was presuming home ice would be the difference, with the perennial underachievers getting it done. I never would have expected to look back and think I underestimated San Jose, but here we are. The Sharks took both games at home by a combined score of 13-5, then won game three in overtime 4-3.

3 Rounds Logo

By predicting goaltending as the key matchup for the series, I took what I considered the safe route. In a sense, goaltending has been key to the series, but not in the way I anticipated. For the Sharks, Antti Niemi has been as good as he needs to be, posting a .912 save percentage and a 2.58 GAA. On the other end, things just haven’t been going well at all for former Conn Smythe winning Jonathan Quick. In game one, he was on the receiving end of shoddy, uncharacteristic defence from his mates, with the Sharks scoring on several tap-ins, but overall he just hasn’t been good. The Sharks have been picking their spots on him, and he needs to be better. Heck, the whole team does.

The Sharks have been firing on all cylinders and while it’s only been three games, Patrick Marleau has been excellent. Constantly criticized for his postseason play, Marleau has gotten off to a great start in these playoffs, leading his team with three goals, and five points so far. He’ll never fully quiet his detractors until he gets into the finals, but at least for now, he’s exceeding expectations. The team as a whole has looked like one of the league’s strongest so far, aside from maybe the Canadiens, although the Sharks are facing a much tougher opponent, no disrespect to the Lightning.

It’s pretty obvious that the Kings are going to need better performances from a whole bunch of people, but after three games, neither Mike Richards, Dustin Brown, nor Justin Williams have a point, and have 13 shots between them.

Game four goes tonight, with the Sharks looking to sweep. The Kings have their work cut out for them if they’re going to pull off a historic comeback, but in front of their home crowd


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