Monthly Archives: May 2011

“Hits and Misses” for Canucks at Sharks Game 4 WCF 5/22/11

Result:  Canucks 4, SHARKS 2    {Sharks trail series 1-3}

San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi reacts after Vancouver Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows scored in the third period to give the Canucks a 4-0 lead. Photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports.

HITS

Andrew Desjardins – Desjardins scored his first goal of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, first of his career, at 7:02 of the third period to get the Sharks on the scoreboard and cut the Canucks deficit to 4-1.  With the puck inside the Canucks zone, Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic fired a wrist shot on net from the top of the point that Desjardins, who was positioned in the slot in front of Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo on the blocker side, deflected with his stick and the puck went pass Luongo for the goal.

Ryane Clowe – Clowe scored his sixth goal of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 18th of his career, at 15:55 of the third period to cut the Canucks deficit to 4-2.  After a sloppy play in the neutral zone by the Canucks, Sharks forward Patrick Marleau ,whose four game goal streak was snapped, carried the puck into the Canucks zone along the lower side board and chipped a pass up to line-mate Logan Couture, who skated in on Luongo and fired a backhand pass from inside the lower face-off circle to Clowe in the slot.  With the puck on his stick and drifting towards his left, Clowe fired a shot on net that beat Luongo glove side for the goal.

Douglas MurrayMurray tied for a game high four hits today.

MISSES

Sharks Team – Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said after Game 2 that “a team isn’t in trouble in a series until they lose a game at home.”  The Sharks now find themselves in troubled waters as their lackadaisical play through the first 46 minutes of the game cost them a golden opportunity to even the series at 2-2 and now have their backs against the wall as they must win the final three games of the series if they want to reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history.  If the Sharks are going to come back and win this series, they better start playing like a team that belongs in the Western Conference Final instead of a team that looks like their in pre-season mode.  The disappointing effort given by the Sharks today was the exact opposite of their effort Friday night as the Sharks lacked a “fire in the belly” and looked like a team that had never played together before as they couldn’t skate, pass, kill off penalties, score on Power Play opportunities and constantly turned the puck over in all three zones.  The Sharks did out-shoot the Canucks 35-13 and came alive the final 14 minutes of the game but despite scoring two goals to cut the Canucks deficit to 4-2, it was too little too late as the damaged had already been done. 

Power Play – Coming into today’s game, the Sharks Power Play unit had been responsible for six of the team’s nine goals in the series, having gone 6-for-13 with the man advantage and was the key reason why the Sharks won Game 3 Friday night as three of their four goals came on the Power Play.  Unfortunately for the Sharks and their fans, the Power Play unit WASTED FIVE CONSECUTIVE OPPORTUNITIES with the man advantage in the first 22 minutes of today’s game!  Even worse was the fact that the Sharks Power Play unit never got into a rhythm and failed to establish momentum on any of their Power Play chances. 

Penalty Killers – After killing off two 5-on-3 disadvantages at the tail-end of the second period in Game 3 Friday night, the Sharks Penalty Kill unit surrendered THREE 5-on-3 Power Play goals in a 1:55 span that put the Canucks up 3-0 halfway through the second period, which set a Canucks franchise record for the fastest three goals in playoff history {the old record was 2:18}.  Canucks forward Ryan Kesler scored at 9:16 to give the Canucks a 1-0 lead and defenseman Sami Salo, who had one point entering the series, scored back-to-back goals in a 16 second span at 10:55 and 11:11 to extend the lead to 3-0. 

Coach McLellan – Why on God’s green earth did coach McLellan wait until after it was 3-0 to take his timeout?  Why didn’t McLellan take the timeout before the first 5-on-3 disadvantage or even after the first Canucks goal?  McLellan waiting to use the timeout after it was 3-0 is the equivalent of plugging up a leak in a boat once the boat has been submerged under water as its too little, too late!

Antti Niemi – After making 27 saves on 30 shots in Game 3 Friday night, Niemi had a lemon of a performance today as he allowed four goals on only 13 shots!  All four of the Canucks goals could have been stopped by Niemi, couple of which probably should have been as Niemi was in position but just didn’t make the saves.  Kesler’s goal squeezed right through Niemi’s blocker side;  Salo’s first goal beat Niemi blocker side as well despite Niemi getting a piece of the puck.  Unfortunately, Niemi allowed himself to be distracted by Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows, who jumped up in the air as Salo’s shot reached Niemi;  Salo’s second goal beat Niemi glove side and Burrows’ goal at 5:43 of the third period to make it 4-0 would’ve never happened if Niemi had kept his legs closed when coming out of his goalie crease to challenge Canucks forward Henrik Sedin, who passed the puck to Burrows through the legs of Niemi and Burrows tapped the puck into the open net for the goal.

Referees – Hockey fans know that if one team gets a few consecutive Power Play opportunities, such as the Sharks did today in the opening 22 minutes, the referees will eventually even out the calls over the course of the game.  However, what happened in the second period today was just outrageous as the Sharks were whistled for four consecutive minor penalties in a 2:44 span, leading to three 5-on-3 Power Play opportunities for the Canucks, all of which they scored on.  It all started at the 8:15 mark when Sharks forward Dany Heatley was called for “high sticking,” which was the correct call.  50 seconds later at the 9:05 mark, Sharks forward Torrey Mitchell was called for “hooking” on Canucks forward Daniel Sedin, which I don’t think would have been called had Sedin not been involved in the play, and led to Kesler’s goal on the Canucks first 5-on-3 Power Play opportunity just 11 seconds later at 9:16.  94 seconds later at 10:39, the Sharks were called for a SOFT “too many men” penalty {Couture was well within the “five-foot” bumper zone of the Sharks bench}, which led to Salo’s first goal of the game on the Canucks second 5-on-3 Power Play opportunity just 16 seconds later at 10:55.  Then, at 11:01, Murray was called for “delay of game” for shooting the puck over the glass, which there was no replay of, and 10 seconds later, Salo scored his second goal of the game on the Canucks third 5-on-3 Power Play advantage.  Even more head scratching is the fact that over the last five periods of the last two games, the Canucks have had five 5-on-3 Power Play advantages while the Sharks have had one.

Advertisements

“Teal Town Tweet Talk” for week of 5/15/11 – 5/21/11

new2

Sena Acolatse

“If I hear that rolling in the deep song on the radio one more time I am going to stab myself in the ears #rattlingyo”  {May 17}

Jamie Baker

“Love the fact Jumbo admitted he challenged Kesler to a fight at the opening faceoff. Equally interesting is that Kesler said no!”  {May 17}

Brodie Brazil

“According to CBC, Joe Thornton skated 1.77 km’s in the 1st period. Conversion, anybody?”  {May 18}

Logan Couture

“Afternoon tv…Maury or Judge Judy? I’m more of a Maury person myself #classclassclass”  {May 17}

Randy Hahn

“Stay classy San Diego….uh I mean San Jose.”  {May 21}

Carter Hutton

@SeanSullivan37 you won’t be flying anywhere if you don’t lay off the deserts #woo”  {May 20}

James Marcou

“Why are we still alive? #judgementdaynot  {May 21}

Jamal Mayers

“Great job last night but gets even tougher tmrw afternoon! Shark tank was loud!!  {May 21}

Jamie McGinn

“Great win by the boys tonight, I’m not the player to try and hurt anybody.. I hope Rome is ok! #stayloud sharks fans”  {May 20}

Sean Sullivan

“In honor of Macho Man Randy Savage I will give a flying elbow drop to @CarterHutton and @JamieMcGinn64 whenever I come across them next.”  {May 20}

SJ Sharkie

“The fan quote of the night: ‘Sharkie, it is my birthday, & the world is ending tomorrow …This is my last chance to get a pic with you’ #fb”  {May 20}

“Hits and Misses” for Canucks at Sharks Game 3 WCF 5/20/11

Result:  Canucks 3, SHARKS 4    {Sharks trail series 1-2}

San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau scores a breakaway goal on Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo in the first period Friday night. Photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports.

HITS

Patrick Marleau – Marleau had a two goal night, scoring his sixth and seventh goals of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 51st and 52nd of his career, and has now scored a goal in four consecutive playoff games.  Marleau’s first goal came at 3:56 of the first period with the Sharks on a Power Play to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead.  With Canucks forward Maxim Lapierre serving a two minute “roughing” penalty, the Sharks won a face-off in their own end and Sharks forward Devin Setoguchi carried the puck from the neutral zone into the Canucks zone along the lower side-board.  Putting on the brakes, Setoguchi got the puck behind the Canucks net to Sharks captain Joe Thornton, who passed the puck out in front to Marleau, who had positioned himself just inside the top of the goalie crease, and Marleau quickly banged the puck between the legs of Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo for the goal.  Marleau’s second goal of the game came at 17:25 of the first period to give the Sharks a 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission.  The goal came as the result of a great defensive play by Marleau in his own end as he blocked Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler‘s shot from the blue line and was off to the races as he corralled a Thornton chip pass in the neutral zone, skated in all alone on Luongo and beat Luongo glove side with a wrist shot for the goal.  Marleau also registered an assist for a three point night.

Ryane Clowe – Clowe scored his fifth goal of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 17th of his career, at 8:22 of the first period with the Sharks on the Power Play to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead.  With Canucks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff serving a four minute double minor “high sticking” penalty, the Sharks Power Play unit displayed tremendous puck movement inside the Canucks zone and with Clowe screening Luongo in front, Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle fired a shot on net from the top of the point that Luongo stopped but the puck rebounded to Clowe, who quickly backhanded the puck between the legs of Luongo for the goal, which was Clowe’s first since Game 4 of the Los Angeles Kings series on April 21.

Dan Boyle – Boyle scored his third goal of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 10th of his career, at 6:46 of the third period with the Sharks on the Power Play to give the Sharks a 4-1 lead and registered an assist for a two point night.  The goal, which held up as the game winner, came as the result of the Sharks having a 5-on-3 advantage as Canucks forwards Ryan Kesler and Alexandre Burrows both served “tripping” minor penalties.  With the puck inside the Canucks zone, the Sharks once again displayed tremendous puck movement and Marleau fed a one-time pass to Boyle, who blasted a shot from the top face-off circle that beat Luongo through the legs for the goal.

Joe Thornton – The Sharks captain finished with three assists for a three point night and once again played tremendous three zone hockey as he was both aggressive and patient in the offensive zone and backchecked like a man possessed in both the neutral and defensive zones.  Hands down, these first three games of the series have been Thornton’s most consistent and complete games he’s ever played for the Sharks as he’s become a complete player via spending time on the Penalty Kill unit and has dropped the tunnel vision he had for the offensive side of the game.

Antti Niemi – After giving up seven goals on 38 shots Wednesday night, Niemi had a tremendous bounce back game, stopping 27-out-of-30 shots, and came up HUGE with sprawling saves during the two Canucks 5-on-3 Power Play advantages at the tail end of the second period.

Power Play – Entering tonight’s game, the Sharks were a perfect 3-for-3 with the man advantage in the series.  Tonight, the Sharks scored on their first two Power Play opportunities to jump out to a 2-0 lead and scored three of their four goals with the man advantage.  For the game, the Sharks Power Play unit finished 3-for-10 and are now 6-for-13 in the series.

Penalty Killers – Along with Niemi, the Sharks Penalty Killers came up HUGE during the two Canucks 5-on-3 Power Play advantages at the tail end of the second period to keep the Canucks off the scoreboard heading into the second intermission.  The Sharks Penalty Killers looked just as good, if not better, killing off the 5-on-3 disadvantage as they have killing off 5-on-4 disadvantages throughout the playoffs.  Yes, the Sharks Penalty Killers did allow two late goals {more later in misses} that made the score closer than what it should have been but overall, the Sharks Penalty Killers had a solid night as they successfully killed off 5-of-7 Canucks Power Play opportunities.

Fourth Line – The big question heading into tonight’s game was whether or not Sharks forward Ben Eager would be in the line-up after his antics Wednesday night in Vancouver.  Not only was Eager not in the line-up, none of the Sharks fourth line skaters from the first two games were dressed as Sharks coach Todd McLellan scratched Eager, Scott Nichol and Benn Ferriero in favor of Jamal Mayers, Jamie McGinn and rookie Andrew Desjardins.  The result?  McGinn and Mayers tied with a team high four hits and the line generated tremendous energy for the Sharks, including several dangerous scoring chances.

Sharks Defensemen – Of the Sharks 22 blocked shots, 19 of them were courtesy of their defensemen as Ian White had a game high six blocked shots, Douglas Murray had five in addition to spending over three minutes on the ice during the Canucks two 5-on-3 Power Play advantages, Kent Huskins had four and both Niclas Wallin and Marc-Edouard Vlasic each had two.

Sharks Team – It took six tries but the Sharks finally got their first ever franchise win on home ice in the Western Conference Finals {lost all three home games to the Calgary Flames in 2004 and both home games to the Chicago Blackhawks last year} and got themselves right back into the series.  The Sharks achieved this feat by getting back to playing Sharks hockey, where they moved their feet instead of being stationary and used their speed to frustrate the Canucks, resulting in the Canucks taking 11 penalties and putting the Sharks on the Power Play 10 times.  In addition, the Sharks had more will in their game and controlled the first 51 minutes of the game.  The final nine minutes of the game not so much as the Canucks pulled to within a goal but the Sharks held their ground and were able to skate away with the win.  If the Sharks are going to tie this series up Sunday afternoon, they are going to have to come out just as strong, if not stronger, and MUST be able to sustain the effort for a full 60 minutes. 

MISSES

McGinn Penalty – You can call me a homer but I totally disagreed with the five-minute “boarding” major penalty assessed to McGinn at 11:22 of the third period for his LEGAL hit on Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome.  I’m sorry but how on God’s green earth is it a penalty when McGinn cut in front of Rome and hit him shoulder-to-shoulder?  Is it McGinn’s fault that Rome wasn’t paying attention, didn’t have his head on a swivel and tried to turn his shoulder at the lat possible second?  Had McGinn hit Rome from behind or in the number’s, I would have had no problem with the call.  However, the fact of the matter is McGinn applied a legal hit to Rome and was only assessed the penalty because Rome, who I personally hope is ok, was injured on the play.

Third Period – The Sharks need to fix their third period struggles because including tonight, the Sharks have been outscored 9-2 by the Canucks in the final frame.  Surrendering a goal at the start of the period cannot happen if the Sharks are going to win this series because it gives the opposition momentum and new life.  Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the Sharks did as they allowed Burrows to score at 1:09 of the period to get the Canucks on the scoreboard and cut the Sharks lead to 3-1.  Even worse, the goal was the result of a failed, backhand clear attempt by Boyle from Niemi’s goal crease that landed on the stick of Burrows in the slot that Niemi had no chance to stop.  Also, allowing the Canucks to score twice on their five-minute Power Play made the game closer than what it should have been.

Penalty Killers – While the Sharks Penalty Killers had a solid outing tonight, they did allow the Canucks to score twice during their five-minute Power Play advantage as the result of the McGinn penalty.  Canucks defensemen Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa scored goals at 13:39 and 16:04 of the third period respectively to pull the Canucks to within a goal of the Sharks.  How is it possible the Sharks Penalty Killers could successfully kill off two 5-on-3 disadvantages in the second period but yet struggle and surrender two goals during a 5-on-4 disadvantage in the third period? 

Brian Engblom – If you don’t recognize this name, you will once I inform you he is the VERSUS broadcaster who called the San Jose Sharks the “San Diego Sharks” during the second period of tonight’s game!  I’m sorry but that is IN-EX-CUS-ABLE!  How embarrassed must VERSUS, a national channel, be that their broadcaster doesn’t even know the correct city of one of the teams in the Western Conference Finals?  Newsflash to Engblom….San Diego is 450+ miles south of San Jose!  It also shows a lack of respect by Engblom for the Sharks because I guarantee you he wouldn’t have announced the Blackhawks or the Detroit Red Wings from the wrong cities had they been playing in the Western Conference Finals instead of the Sharks.

“Hits and Misses” for Sharks at Canucks Game 2 WCF 5/18/11

Result:  SHARKS 3, Canucks 7    {Sharks trail series 0-2}

The San Jose Sharks and coach Todd McLellan look on from the bench during Game 2 Wednesday night. Photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports.

HITS

Logan Couture – Couture scored his seventh goal of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 11th of his career, at 2:28 of the first period with the Sharks on the Power Play to give the Sharks an early 1-0 lead.  With Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome in the penalty box for “tripping,” Sharks forward Dany Heatley carried the puck from the neutral zone into the Canucks zone along the lower side board, drawing two Canucks defenders towards him.  With his head on a swivel, Heatley fired a pass in the slot to Couture, who went backhand-to-forehand and shot the puck over the the blocker of Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo for the goal.

Patrick Marleau – Marleau scored his fifth goal of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 50th of his career, at 13:03 of the first period with the Sharks on the Power Play to tie the game at 2-2 heading into the first intermission.  With Canucks forward Daniel Sedin in the penalty box for “cross-checking” and the puck inside the Canucks zone, Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle fired a shot on net from the blue line that rimmed around the end-boards and rebounded to Sharks captain Joe Thornton, who backhanded a shot on net from the side of the goalie crease that deflected into the goal crease, where Marleau was able to get his stick on the loose puck and poke it into the net for the goal, which held up on video review as the goal wasn’t called on the ice despite several of the Sharks players raising their hands for the goals.  In addition, Marleau participated in his first NHL fight since January 13, 2007 when he dropped the gloves with Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who is a more experienced fighter than Marleau as this was Marleau’s sixth career fight in his 13-year NHL career.

Ben Eager – Yes I might be in the minority but I am giving Eager a minor “hit” because even though he did do some some bone-headed things {more later in misses}, Eager was one of the few Sharks on the ice that gave an honest effort {Marleau, Thornton, Niemi} and battled until the every end, resulting in him scoring his first goal of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, third of his career, at 17:27 of the third period to make the final score 7-3 and got the goal by crashing the net for a rebound goal off a Joe Pavelski shot.

Power Play – The Sharks Power Play unit were once again perfect tonight, capitalizing on both opportunities  with the man advantage and are now a perfect 3-for-3 in the series.

Douglas Murray – Murray had a team high six hits tonight.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Vlasic had a game high five blocked shots tonight.

MISSES

Sharks Team – Only one word is needed to describe tonight’s game…Embarrassing!  The Sharks looked like they were a team stuck in pre-season mode tonight instead of a team playing in its second consecutive Western Conference Final.  There is no way any of the Sharks players, coaches, staff or fans can be happy with the effort given out on the ice tonight as it was easily one of the worst, if not the worst playoff game in franchise history.  The Sharks are a much better team than what they showed tonight but its going to be up to them whether or not they show it.  Yes, the Sharks are down 0-2 in the series but the Sharks have a golden opportunity to get back into the series by winning the next two games at home Friday and Sunday evening.  The Sharks can still win this series but they are going to need a commitment from all 20 players that dress out and are going to have to pull their laces tighter as its “gut-check” time for them.  Either the Sharks reach down, find that “fire in the belly” and prove their naysayers wrong or turtle up and be swept out of the Western Conference Finals for the second consecutive season.

0:39That’s how quickly the Canucks scored back-to-back goals in the first period to erase the Sharks early 1-0 lead and take a 2-1 lead themselves.  Daniel Sedin’s Power Play goal at 9:39 came as the result of a turnover in the neutral zone by Couture, who was thinking offense with Marleau instead of clearing the puck down the ice, and Raffi Torresgoal at 10:18 came as the result of Torres out-working Pavelski near the goalie crease for position.

Third Period – Despite the final score, the Sharks did enter the third period trailing 3-2 and started the period by successfully killing off the remaining time on Eager’s boarding penalty to Canucks forward Daniel Sedin {more later in misses}.  However, the Sharks let their emotions get the better of them, took ill-advised penalties, stopped skating and allowed the Canucks to score four times in an 8:44 span of the third period.  The Sharks have now given up six goals in the third period alone through the first two games of the series.

Discipline – For the game, the Sharks took 13 penalties, resulting in 53 penalty minutes, 44 of which came in the third period alone!  Ryane Clowe had 12 penalty minutes {all in the third}, Eager had 20 {18 in third period}, Marleau had five, Scott Nichol had 12 {all in the third} and Couture and Pavelski each had two.

Turnovers – Just like in Game 1, the Sharks turned the puck over too many times inside their own zone and in the neutral zone, resulting in a lot of stopping and going backwards for the Sharks skaters that ultimately led to tired legs on the ice as the game progressed.

Coach McLellan – I can understand Coach McLellan being frustrated with his team’s effort throughout the game, especially in the third period, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that he purposely put his fourth line out on the ice for a face-off inside the Canucks zone against the Canucks top line, which resulted in a goal for the Canucks by Rome at 14:30 of the third period, his first of the playoffs, to increase the Canucks lead to 5-2.  Honestly, what was Coach McLellan hoping to accomplish?  Was he trying to send a message to his top lines that they hadn’t earned the right to take that face-off?  Was he rewarding the fourth line for an honest effort?  Whatever Coach McLellan’s reasoning was for that questionable match-up, the Canucks took full advantage and capitalized on the favorable match-up.

Penalty Killers – In the first two rounds combined against the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators, the Canucks Power Play unit went 8-for-36 with the man advantage.  Through the first two games of this series, the Canucks Power Play unit is 4-for-10 after going 3-for-6 tonight, two of which came in the third period.  This has to raise red flags and be addressed by the Sharks coaching staff between now and game 3 Friday night at HP Pavilion because its mind boggling that a Penalty Kill unit that was so solid and nearly flawless over the course of the final four games against the Detroit Red Wings last series could revert to this.

Referees – I know the referees have a hard job but how on God’s green earth did the referees miss not one, but two high sticks in the first period to the faces of Sharks forward Devin Setoguchi and Thornton respectively?  Even worse was the fact that the linesman was standing right there when Henrik Sedin whacked Thornton in the face with his stick after their face-off, cutting Thornton on the cheek, and still didn’t call a penalty!  It has to be asked, how much different would the game have been had the Sharks not been robbed of their four-minute double minor Power Play opportunity at the end of the first period that would have carried over into the second period?  Also, is it just me or is it kind of odd that through the first two games, the Sharks have had only three Power Plays opportunities while the Canucks have had 10?  Lastly, did anyone else roll their eyes in disbelief when the Sharks were called for “too many men” on the ice the second Thornton broke into the Canucks zone all alone on a breakaway?  Would that call have been made had the Canucks had the breakaway chance instead of the Sharks?

Higgins Goal – Speaking of referees, can someone please explain to me why the referees did not call “goalie interference” on Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows, who clearly had both of his skates deep inside the goalie crease and impeded Sharks goalie Antti Niemi‘s ability to make a play on the puck?  That has been called all season and post-season!  As a result of the no call, Canucks forward Chris Higgins was able to score his fourth goal of the playoffs at 7:56 of the third period to increase the Canucks lead to 4-2.  

Bieksa Goal – The game winning goal by Bieksa at 12:05 of the second period that gave the Canucks a 3-2 lead came as the result of ANOTHER communication breakdown by Murray and Boyle as both followed the puck and learned to the right side of the ice, allowing Bieksa to skate right down the middle of the rink untouched and corral a stretch pass on his stick for a breakaway goal.

Versus Announcers – Tell me the VERSUS announcers did not say that Niemi should have sold Burrow’s being in his crease more in order to get a “goalie interference” penalty?  I’m sorry but to me, that sounds like the announcers are endorsing players to embellish, which will quickly ruin the game.  There’s a reason why a lot of people don’t like watching soccer and that’s because of the players constantly flopping like they have been picked off by snipers when they are barley, and in some cases, never touched! 

Antti Niemi – This is as minor of a “miss” as possible because Niemi’s effort in net is not the root of the Sharks problems.  In fact, Niemi did everything he could to keep the Sharks in the game and within striking distance by making several jaw-dropping saves, stopped the puck when he had to and battled both shots and players!  Yes, Niemi did allow seven goals but he faced 38 shots, 31 of which he stopped, and he can’t be the only guy out there killing off penalties.  Last time I checked, there were skaters in front of Niemi who are suppose to be clearing pucks out of the zone and not allow Niemi to be peppered with shots all game.

Ben Eager – I’ve become a fan of Eager’s since he was picked up during the season by the Sharks because of his effort and the fact that he plays with an edge.  However, Eager must learn how to control that edge and harness it into a controlled aggression/frenzy that will allow him to stay out of the penalty box as Eager does more harm than good to the Sharks when he’s in the sin-bin.  His “boarding” penalty on Daniel Sedin near the end of the second period I wasn’t that upset with because Eager was sticking up for Marleau after the fight with Bieksa and honestly, I don’t think that would have been called had it not been a Sedin getting hit.  The “tripping” penalty he did to Canucks forward Mason Raymond at 6:57 of the third period was inexcusable and eventually led to Higgins’ goal.  However, the only thing people in the hockey realm are going to talk about was that after Eager scored his goal, he stuck is arms up in the air to celebrate and said some things to Luongo as stood over him in the goalie crease.  I know Eager is a competitor and was playing hard, but there was no need for him to talk trash like that because it came of as “bush league.”