It was the biggest game of the season for the San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks last night. Neither team disappointed in their performance.
Even though Chicago squeaked a 4-3 win out in OT on a Troy Brouwer wrister 1:37 in, the Sharks battled hard until the end and both teams show us that this could be a fantastic playoff series if the two teams meet down the road.
The Blackhawks jumped on a 3-0 lead early. All three of their regulation goals came in the first nine minutes of the game. When number three happened I was about ready to yank Nabby myself and turn the channel to Seinfeld re-runs until Joe Pavelski put a small glimmer of hope into my eyes with a first period goal.
From there on out, the Sharks grinded hard. Pavelski added another goal in the second, this one on the Power Play and at the end of two periods we had a 3-2 game. Nabokov had finally warmed up, as had the Dan Boyle-less defense.
The third period had all the makings of an instant classic if the Sharks could only battle back and win. Manny Malhotra tied the game just five minutes into the third period and I must say I screamed for joy. Plenty of chances arose for both squads after that, but it was only fitting that a game of this stature and hype go into overtime.
It’s just too bad that the game ended how it did. In a play that was eerily similar to Pavelski’s goal against Dallas in the playoffs a few seasons ago, Troy Brouwer’s shoot deflated me and probably every Shark fan watching around the nation. God was I angry.
But, like Ilya Bryzgalov infamously said, “It’s a hockey you know? It’s only game. Why you have to be mad?” In a way Ilya is right, it is just a game. However come playoff time, hockey is not just a game, its way of live; it is survival of the fittest to its finest degree.
So Blackhawk fans, especially those who follow Jeff Bartl’s blog Blackhawk Up, listen up. You may have won the regular season series, but the real war has not begun yet. See you come playoff time.
The Sharks are still first in the Western Conference, one point ahead of Chicago.
Dan Boyle missed his third straight game with an upper body injury.
The loss snapped the Sharks five game win streak.