We're three games into the Sharks-Red Wings series, and so far it's been like watching a couple of dogs tussle in Duboce Park: it's competitive, but not exactly fun to watch. The Sharks got two quick goals in Game 1, then endured a Wings onslaught for the win, thanks to stellar goaltending from Evgeni Nabokov. In Game 2, the Sharks went for seconds, going up by two goals in the first period before going into a shell. But that second plate never is quite as good as the first, and Detroit dominated play, battled back to tie the score, and got a late goal by Pavel Datsyuk on a broken play for the win.
The Sharks decided to switch things up in Game 3 back at the Shark Tank. Sounds good right? Except their new game plan was to go down by a goal in the first after looking confused for long stretches of play that didn't involve Joe Thornton. For almost exactly 30 minutes, San Jose couldn't put a clean pass through the neutral zone, couldn't get much extended pressure, couldn't win a battle on the boards in their own zone, and just generally looked like they didn't know what they were doing. After they tied the score, the roles reversed, and the Sharks completely controlled play for the remaining 30 minutes.
Dominik Hasek, the Wings goalie, has looked beatable when the Sharks are able to work from the hash-marks in, leaving rebounds on the weak- side, and doing his trademark prone-flopping-around act. But unlike when the Dominator was in his prime, his reaction time is a tad slower, and he relies on the tight Detroit defense to clear off the rebounds and tie-up the Sharks shooters. When Ryan Clowe tied the game, he fluttered a weak shot just past the glove of a sprawling Hasek. In 1997, that's not a goal.
Photo courtesy of P.J. Swenson at Sharkspage
By Ian, contributing