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02-15-2013, 12:07 PM
Blades of Glory
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There is absolutely no reason to think that the Sharks stand a chance in this game. Which is precisely why I think they might actually find a way to win. For whatever reason, this team is incapable of consistently handling games against weaker opponents that they should annihilate. It is likely partially due to the marginalization of the regular season that has spawned in recent years as a result of the Sharks' annual Stanley Cup expectations. The fans are as guilty of it as the players. For so many years, it has been "nothing matters until the playoffs." Last year wasn't the cakewalk that previous regular seasons had been for the Sharks, but that was more of a result of bad puck luck and one devastating injury. They had the best record in the NHL going into February, when the loss of Martin Havlat a few weeks earlier caught up to them. They were 25-11-3 with Havlat in the lineup, and 18-18-7 without him. My point is, this team has developed a terrible habit of playing to the level of the opposition. The Sharks went 14-5-2 against Detroit, Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Chicago, LA, Philadelphia, and Boston last year. They dominated the class of the NHL. Yet they consistently struggled against teams that did not provide that "instant" challenge to play up to their level. Even this year, I would say that the first Chicago game was probably one of their top 3 games of the season, brutal turnovers aside.

So who knows, maybe we can squeak out a win tonight. God knows we will need it, because we ain't winning in St. Louis.

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