Most any other time, against any other team, a second round win would feel satisfactory. If even just for a moment. But not against Detroit. An original six team, deep in talent, the Red Wings still strike fear, despite a 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks last night at HP Pavilion.
One reason is that they just flew in from Phoenix two days ago after surviving a seven game bruiser again an up-start Coyotes team (was it really necessary for the City of San Jose to fine them $2,500 for breaking the landing curfew?). That the Wings can play this well on such little rest after a seven game series against the well-rested (albeit, Marleau-less) is testament to their je n’est c’est quoi. Call it skill. Call it a well managed franchise. Just don’t ever call it a push-over.
But, first, before I get too fretful already: This is a W. The Sharks won. And many questions were answered.
Would the Sharks offense show? Yes, yes, and yes came the rapid-fire answer thanks to a three goal outburst in only 1:39 of the first period.
Could they win without Marleau? Yes. One may wonder, though, if they can win without Pavelski, the surprise scoring phenom of these playoffs.
Which Nabby would show, the destitute Olympic keeper that didn’t exactly help Russia’s gold medal chances, or the elite player that backstopped San Jose with 44 wins this regular season? While Nabokov didn’t play his best game ever, it was good enough, particularly in the last five minutes when Detroit mounted a last ditch comeback attempt, crashing the net and shooting at will.
Many would even say it was a must-win. How about that? A game one must-win. There is probably some truth there. It’s one thing to climb out of a hole against the young, but inexperienced Avalanche, but against Motown… come on, now you’re not only facing Zetterberg, Holmstrom, Franzen and Datsyuk, but ghosts of Stanley Cups past including Yzerman, Hasek, Howe and Fedorov. Yes, the red and white keep good company.
Neuroticism has a way of befriending Sharks’ playoff supporters. I’m no stranger to the affliction and have fine tuned my own mental anguish after many years of practice. They should replace Sharky with Wood Allen perhaps.