Sunday, October 17, 2010

Game 3: "The Man with the Funny Name Strikes Again!"*

I've seen better home openers. Last year's comes to mind, when Dany Heatley got a penalty shot and scored The Hat Trick that Launched a Thousand BlackArmor Heatley Jerseys. The season opener the year before that, too, where we crushed the Ducks 4-0, as I recall. It was the start of several months of unbroken home domination. Last night we lost our first home game to the Thrashers. And I don't mean that our first home game was lost to the Thrashers. I mean that this is the first time we've ever lost a home game to Atlanta. That sucks! And for Byfuglien to get the game-winning that the fourth or fifth consecutive time he's done that to us? After they moved him back to be a defenseman? At least we know the problem wasn't Nabby. Andrew Ladd got a short-handed goal, too. The Blackhawks sure do like to score on our power play.

One thing that jumped out at me last night was that, as much as I would like to see another top-3 man added to what appears to be a weak defensive line-up, it was Dan Boyle who made me repeatedly groan in dismay. He failed to tie up the second man (Andrew Ladd) on the short-handed goal. He made blind, back-handed passes to nobody when he was pinching and one of them led directly to Atlanta's fourth goal. He knows better than that, so what's going on? He didn't look as composed as usual, and although he only came out -2 on the night, he was on the ice for all four Atlanta goals.** I don't mean to rag on him, I just find it ironic that, for all the fretting fans (myself included) have been doing over the Sharks' defense, it is the one man of whom I've heard no criticism that was making costly turnovers and missing assignments. Maybe that's because he played a minute longer than average.
For the record, I think Marleau had one of his off-nights, but the Clowe/Couture/Heatley line looked great! I just don't like to see Joe Pavelski bumped to the third line. Let's hope he can get Jamie McGinn and Torrey Mitchell to start scoring. Yes, I am aware that Torrey Mitchell is currently outscoring Joe Pavelski. I worry that the disparity in ice-time between the 2nd and 3rd lines will mean Todd McClellan will juggle the line combinations more frequently than usual, which might mean that chemistry is slower to develop. Kinda still feel that way about the defense.

From the rafters:

Let's go, Sharks!

*stolen from Ryan Leong's facebook comment
**Boyle earned +1 for an assist and one of the Atlanta goals was on the power play, which does not affect +/- scores.

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