Headin’ for a showdown.
The Sharks and Blackhawks have been neck and neck, and now they meet for the final time in the regular season with the ‘Hawks holding a 2-1 advantage.
The ‘Hawks return to the Shark Tank for the first time since the Black Wednesday Massacre, but don’t expect tonight to be anything resembling that game. The winner takes first-place in the West, and both teams are looking to make a statement with this battle.
The Sharks are riding a five-game winning streak and look every bit the contender. Despite a couple minor hiccups this season, San Jose doesn’t look like the playoff flops they’ve been labled. This team is going to make a run, and I’m guessing tonight won’t be the last time the ‘Hawks see the Sharks.
Patrick Marleu leads the NHL in goals with 35, and Dany Heatly is right behind with the 30. Combine that with Joe Thornton’s 67 points and the Sharks currently have the best top line in the world — literally. Throw in Evgeni Nabokov’s .928 save percentage and 30 wins, this team is pretty much ridiculous. The only question mark this team has is whether or not it can sustain the playoff pressure. Seeing as we’re still in the regular season, that doesn’t count. This team is out-of-control good.
Joe Pavelski views this game as a benchmark, despite it being months from the playoffs. A lot can happen between now and then, but both teams seem pretty damn serious about this one. The ‘Hawks and Sharks have made it a two-horse race for the home-ice in the playoffs by pulling away from the rest of the pack.
To be honest, I woke up this morning believing this game is getting a bit too much hype for a late-January contest. But reading quotes from each team, I realized the players are out to earn some bragging rights and make a statement. While I’m not going to start twisting nipples over each goal tonight, I’m pretty excited to see how this one turns out.
The ‘Hawks have some momentum after bitch-slapping Deadmonton this weekend, yet the Sharks come in pretty well rested. I rightly predicted Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane would put up nice numbers against the Oilers. Tonight, I’m looking at Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp for big games. And now anything is possible with Kris Versteeg after breaking his five-game scoreless streak with assist the other night.
Puck drop is 9:30 p.m. CT. Get some, baby.
Check it out:
Get over to Second City Hockey to read Killion’s analysis/ass-raping of Rick Morrisey’s bullshit column in the Sun-Times today. It’s a great read. It proves just how much the Chicago media — other than the beat writers — know about the Blackhawks: Absolutely fucking nothing.