Well well well, it looks like the Sharks CAN play defense after all. I guess I should start this off with a much deserved apology to one Mr. Dan Boyle who I openly criticized in my Grizzly Bomb debut. Just like the great Donald Trump, I’ll fully take credit for the turn around in not only his play, but the teams recommitment to defense, and assume it was because they took my criticism to heart.
In all seriousiocity (yes I make up my own words as well, cause I’m that awesome), Boyle has been a defensive machine by blanketing and frustrating Zetterberg and Datsyuk in the offensive zone. Another thing I’ll take credit for is the return of Niemi’s spine. The dude appears to be back to his old form only letting in 2 goals in the first two games, as opposed to the 6 he let in during the first two games against LA. It’s these two 180 degree turns in the play of San Jose that have put up 2-0 in the series.
So what’s going on with Detroit? What happened between games 1 and 2? Even though they played a very solid game through out, the game 1 loss was nothing more than a bad bounce on shot tossed toward the net in hopes of something good happening. Not really much in game 1 to dissect and criticize. Game 2 on the other hand is a completely different beast. The wings came out just plain flat for the entire game. Not even in the final minutes of the third did you see much desperation or jump in their steps to try a tie it up. I would have expected to see the ‘Game 2 Wings’ in game 1, after 8 days of rest. Not after a day of rest and a game 1 overtime loss.
Another area of concern that surfaced in game 2 was the health of Johan Franzen. The dude is definitely not 100% right now, and the knee is keeping him from living up to ‘The Mule’ nickname he has and getting the production from him that they so desperately need. The one bright spot for Detroit right now is Jimmy Howard. So far in two games he’s stopped 79 of 83 shots for a .952 save percentage. Hopefully returning home to Joe Louis will spark the Wing’s offense and give Howard the help he needs.
All in all, this series is shaping up to be as good as what everyone thought it would be going in. Game 2 was a bit more physical than I think people expected, but hey, that just makes things that much better. I’m still sticking with my prediction of Wings in 7……… for now…..
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