Hockey Today April 22
Re: Hockey Today April 22
Flames at Sharks -- Game 7
By Judd Hall
Game 7: you really don’t have to say anything more than that for people to watch.
Tuesday at 10:00 pm EDT on Versus, we’ll be treated to final contest of the first round in the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Sharks and Flames at the HP Pavilion in San Jose.
The sportsbooks are making the Sharks $1.80 home favorites (risk $180 to win $100) as the total is hovering around five.
If you’re looking to grab a sense of consistency amongst the last six tilts, good luck. We’ve went through swings of solid offense to bouts of no scoring on either side and then (just for good measure) we got watched great goaltending on either end of the rink.
Something to take not of is how San Jose’s offense is just not showing up every night, averaging 2.3 goals per game this postseason. This isn’t nearly as bad as you’d think since they averaged 2.6 goals during the regular season, but not was expected by a team that was the hottest in the NHL as they headed into the playoffs.
The Sharks have also not received any scoring support out of Joe Thornton up to this point of the series, lighting the lamp just once. I know he’s registered five assists in the last six matches, but this is a guy that pulled in a team high 29 goals during the year. If anything he should be thanking Ryane Clowe for finding the back of the net four times.
Another person that has helped keep San Jose alive is Vezina Trophy finalist, Evgeni Nabokov. The netminder has posted an impressive 2.36 GAA, but one must keep in mind that his average is augmented by a Game 4 performance where Calgary had just 10 shots on goal.
Calgary hasn’t been the model of a juggernaut on the offensive side of the ice either, scoring just 25 times in the playoffs. If there is anything that can be said is the usual suspects are the ones lighting the lamp for the Flames as Jarome Iginla (eight points), Dion Phaneuf (six points) and Daymond Langkow (five points) are at the top of the scoring sheet.
The Flames’ defense has been bolstered by Phaneuf, but also by another solid postseason display by Miikka Kiprusoff. The Fin has put in a 2-3 mark with a 2.78 GAA, not great I’ll admit, but is marred by an off start in Game 3. Luckily for Mike Keenan’s club, he’s got wily vet Curtis Joseph at his disposal to help stuff the net. Joseph stopped all 22 shots he saw in the third tilt of the series, which helped the offense put together its impressive comeback.
Some people say that home ice is worthless in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And while I agree with that for early matches, it is an incorrect train of thought when considering a decisive Game 7.
Squads that have earned home ice for the seventh and final contest have gone 14-6 SU since the 2002 Playoffs. If you’re looking at a totals play in this one, it’s a tough call as history goes with the over/under going 9-9-2 in that same stretch of time. Adding more fuel to that passing fire is this series 2-2-2 where the combined score is concerned.
Re: Hockey Today April 22
NHL LONG SHEET
CALGARY (45-33-0-10, 100 pts.) at SAN JOSE (52-26-0-10, 114 pts.)
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.
Head-to-Head Series History
CALGARY is 10-8 (+3.2 Units) against the spread versus SAN JOSE over the last 3 seasons
CALGARY is 10-8-0 straight up against SAN JOSE over the last 3 seasons
7 of 12 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Over=+2.1 Units)
Re: Hockey Today April 22
2008 NHL playoffs
Washington rallied with pair of third period goals last night to even series at 3-3, winning 4-2 at Philly; over is now 13-5 in last 18 series games, 4-2 in this series. Flyers didn't score while they were even strength Monday (2-4 on power play)- they're 3-2 in last five visits to this arena. Visitor is 6-4 in last 10 series tilts.
Calgary is 4-4 in last eight visits to Shark Tank, losing last two at San Jose in this series- over is 4-2-2 in those eight games at San Jose. Calgary outshot Sharks 22-10 in first period of its last two games, after being outshot 6-2 in the first period of Game 4. Underdog is 5-4 in last nine series games.
Re: Hockey Today April 22
Sharks thrilled for Game 7 against Flames
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -Mike Ricci put his shot into the far corner, and Evgeni Nabokov dived to get it. The pingpong ball sliced away from the goalie's paddle, and he tumbled to the floor of the San Jose Sharks' locker room with an exaggerated yelp.
''Game over!'' Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said with a grin. Ricci, the former forward who's now a team executive, crossed himself, while team owner Greg Jamison laughed at his doubles partner's pratfall.
No, the second-seeded Sharks weren't exactly rigid with angst on the day before Game 7 of their first-round series against the Calgary Flames.
After putting up the second-best regular season record in the NHL, San Jose's playoff hopes are teetering on a single game at the Shark Tank against a surging opponent with ample playoff experience. That didn't stop the Sharks from breaking out their new pingpong table after practice Monday.
''Emotions can play a big role in a series, so you want to take a step back from that sometimes,'' defenseman Craig Rivet said. ''It's nice to have this type of atmosphere, but when we come to the rink, we're going to be focused. We're going to be playing desperate hockey for the first time, and we're excited.''
Wilson and Ricci might have won their tussle with Jamison and Nabokov, who emerged uninjured. But the Sharks will need more than a good backhand to avoid a loss that could change the course of their franchise.
Though the seventh-seeded Flames have shaken off an inconsistent regular season to play the tough hockey expected from them all year, the Sharks have expectations beyond the first two playoff rounds. After playing their worst game of the series in a 2-0 loss Sunday, the Sharks could be in for major changes if they don't get one more victory in a series that's been just as nail-bitingly tough as coach Ron Wilson predicted two weeks ago.
''We knew it was going to go six or seven games right from the get-go,'' said Joe Thornton, the Sharks' second-leading scorer in the series with six points. ''We had a real good feeling it was going to go seven games. ... We played all 82 games to get home advantage for this Game 7.''
San Jose won the Pacific Division with 108 points, but all this California cool can't change the fact that one more loss to Calgary would negate most of the Sharks' accomplishments. After losing in the second round in two straight seasons, San Jose would be cemented as regular-season overachievers who can't get it together in the real season.
The thought apparently doesn't worry most of the Sharks, as they proved on the pingpong table. Instead, they seem more eager to partake of the tension and stress that only arise from a seventh game.
''If you're not afraid of the situation, but if you're anxious, I think that's a good thing,'' said center Jeremy Roenick, a surprising Game 6 scratch. ''We do have a lot of pride, and we're very confident in ourselves. I think we're eager to get back at it and make up for a very lackluster performance in Game 6.''
Coach Mike Keenan and 17 players on Calgary's roster have been in a winner-take-all playoff game. Keenan will be coaching his 11th Game 7 - the most in NHL history - and Stephane Yelle will take the lead among active players with his 11th appearance.
Just eight Sharks have played in a Game 7, and Thornton doesn't even remember his sole experience with Boston. Sandis Ozolinsh, the most experienced of all, is unlikely to play, but Roenick has scored four goals in seventh games, including a game-winner.
Roenick will be back in the Sharks' lineup for Game 7, but defenseman Kyle McLaren won't play.
''That kind of excitement, where it's winner-take-all, is the type of excitement you want to have,'' said Ron Wilson, who won a seventh game when he coached Anaheim. ''We've just got to have a better start to the game and enjoy a seventh game. These don't come along too often.''
The Flames forced it by shutting out the Sharks for the first time in the series. San Jose hadn't been held scoreless since Dec. 18, but its impotent effort was symbolized by Milan Michalek's panicked inability to pass or shoot on a 3-on-1 break late in the second period.
The high-scoring Czech forward has no points and just five shots in the series despite playing more than 16 minutes per game, mostly on Thornton's line.
''Right now, the only guy who can help himself is Milan,'' Wilson said. ''He's got to find something simple, and just accomplish it.''