It's early in the season, but a couple teams are certainly letting the rest of the Western Conference know they mean business this year. The Chicago Blackhawks are off to an impressive 5-0 start, followed closely by those teal-clad bastards from the Bay Area. After another disappointing playoff exit for the Sharks last spring, the pressure is mounting on Joe Thornton and the Sharks to finally live up to expectations and bring the Cup to San Jose.
To say that they're rolling right now is an understatement. Averaging just under 5 goals a game, while allowing slightly less than 2 is a sign you've got things going well. The problem is, as it always has been in San Jose: is it sustainable? Obviously Marleau is not going to continue this historic pace. I'm thinking money on Patty not making it on the scoresheet tonight is a safe bet. After a late afternoon tilt against the Colorado Avalanche, the well-rested Canucks stride into the Tank coming off a rather impressive win of their own, a 5-0 beatdown of the Anaheim Ducks.
The game plan for tonight is pretty similar when you think about it. The Sharks and Ducks are similar in a lot of ways, and once again discipline and making sure the PP is rolling is going to be huge. The first line (and first PP unit) of Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Zack Kassian are starting to gel rather nicely, and somehow Mason Raymond's managed to stumble into a nice groove over the last couple games, notching 3 goals. The Canucks are getting contributions from their defence and even the 4th line (was that not Aaron Volpatti's best game as a Canuck so far against the Ducks?), are chipping in. And while it would be nice to see Alexandre Burrows and Chris Higgins get it in gear, overall the Canucks' last 2 games were a lot better than the first 2.
Cory Schneider will get a chance to continue his shutout streak against the Sharks, and notch his 3rd win in a row tonight, but will need to get a solid bit of hell from the blueliners as he did in the game against Anaheim. Keeping the Sharks dangerous offensive weapons on the outside, and controlling the traffic in front the way they did against the Ducks will be a huge factor if the Canucks hope to steal 2 points before rolling down to LA. And by the way, how dumb is it to zig zag like this? They should have been playing the Kings tonight, after being in Orange County Friday night. I guess we shouldn't complain about this brutal Eastern Conference style travel portion of their their schedule though, right?
Can't Get Enough Of That Sugar Crisp...
Golf clap for the defending Champs, as they finally won a game last night with a 4-2 win over the now last place Phoenix Coyotes. The Desert Dogs have been able to weather the storm over the last few years by squeaking into the playoffs (save for last year when they were actually pretty decent), but you can't help but think the lockout plus a team that could find themselves out of it early on could spell disaster for them... And a hearty HAHA to the Edmonton Oilers, who came in riding the high of their come from behind win over the Kings the other night to serve up an absolute turd against the previously winless Calgary Flames. Regression? Or just another example of over estimating the team's improvement? They're not gonna suck forever, but this is still far from an elite team, no matter what Sports Illustrated tries to tell us... The Leafs lost their 2nd in a row as the struggling Rangers beat them 5-2 last night... Matt Read had a hat trick as the Flyers laid the boots to the woeful Florida Panthers 7-1... Congrats to San Jose's Matt Irwin on his first NHL goal yesterday in their 4-0 win over Colorado. The Brentwood Bay, BC kid was a member of the Nanaimo Clippers of the BCHL...
KICKASS METAL TUNE OF THE DAY
So I was watching tv the other day when a familiar tune caught my ear... What a shock to see a commercial using Bay Area thrashers Death Angel!
The song is the title track off their debut album 'The Ultra-Violence', recorded when the band were all basically under the age of 20 (drummer Andy Galeon was just 14!). As far as debut albums go this one ranks right up there, firmly entrenching them as one of the better bands to come out the 2nd wave of Bay Area metal bands along with Testament, Vio-Lence, Forbidden and Sadus.