Jumbo really came to play.
So said Todd McLellan last night as he reflected on his team’s 13th win in its’ last 16 games. Any trepidation that the San Jose Sharks might have had about facing the perennial powerhouse Detroit Red Wings in their own barn were quickly dashed by the play last night of Joe Thornton as he lead San Jose to a decisive 4-3 win.
For those who rail constantly on Jumbo to shoot more (me / everyone I know), let it be known across the entire kingdom, from the Marin Headlands all the way down to the Fry’s Electronics off Highway 17 and into the wilds of Morgan Hill that Joseph E. Thornton registered 6 SOG last night.
Not even kidding.
But more than him putting Sharks fans into a giddy stupor by actually pulling the trigger a few times, it was him living up to his nickname in every regard at Joe Louis Arena that should encourage Sharks fans as it gets down to schedule crunch time.
Joe Thornton at his best appears to be not only physically bigger than opposing players and would be defensive markers, but also amazingly able to fend off their countless cross checks with ease as if they’re being delivered by some 40-something Fantasy Campers.
You want a Sharks themed drinking game? Every time Thornton has the puck along the boards and is shielding it with his body as only he can from the opposition, take a sip of beer for every stick he gets to the lower back and another one for every slash he endures across his wrists. If a penalty is actually called, you have to drink a shot of Jameson (substitute as you wish)…but I honestly wouldn’t worry about that one.
Even if you do avoid taking that shot of whiskey, I guarantee you are hammered by the time the 2nd period winds to a close. That, and if you play this game at HP Pavilion, you will go stone cold broke.
Jumbo ended up going for three points last night (along with that glorious SOG shot total), including a PP goal and two assists. Both of those helpers incidentally went to Devin Setoguchi, who followed his first hat trick against the Colorado Avalanche last Saturday with a pair of beauties last night.
Yup, the Seto bandwagon is boarding with lots of seats on the roof still if you’re interested.
Although, not really sure if it’s fair to criticize fans for being a little frustrated with Seto after the dormant first half of the season he made us endure. Regardless, any lost touch by Setoguchi has been discovered in a big way recently. Also, considering these goals have come off the stick of a former 30+ goal scorer, the thought of a legitimately resurgent Devin Setoguchi rising into his prime just in time for the final push to the playoffs, is more than enticing.
The Sharks were physical and imposing and though they made Dan Cleary look like Jari Kurri at times, they played the entire tilt with passion and a mean streak. In short, they assumed the demeanor of not only a playoff team, but a Stanley Cup contender.
Tonight, the Sharks face the Pittsburgh Penguins in what at the beginning of the season, looked like a brutal back-to-back. In actuality, playing the Penguins right now is like playing the 1927 Yankees without Ruth or Gehrig. Understandably, enduring the loss of both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin has been rough on the Eastern Conference titans and it has shown in their recent play where they have dropped 6 of 8 decisions.
With Crosby not expected back from his concussion for a while and Malkin out for the year with a knee injury, the Sharks need to seize upon this good fortune and grab tonight’s game before heading out to face the very healthy Calgary Flames in Canada on Friday.
After a physical game against the Red Wings, this will be no mean feat, but the Sharks will come in this evening as the better team on a hot streak, and need to seal this victory.
No Sid the Kid, no Geno? Good, here’s to an unfair fight.
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