Is it bad that I'm only moderately concerned for this series? We were 3-0-1 against the Sharks in the regular season, the OT loss coming in a shootout. San Jose hasn't made it past the first round in three-hundred years, and the Wings are coming out from a hard series more determined than ever.
Is there a chance that Sunday's Red Wings will show up at the Shark Tank tonight? No doubt about it. Will they? I really hope not. None of us Wingnuts want to see that travesty again. I don't think it will happen. If we come out playing like we did in Game Seven, these Sharks are doomed, more doomed than a T-Rex in San Diego [okay, maybe I was watching The Lost World over the weekend...].
So here are my vague Keys to Victory, since we haven't seen San Jose in a while, and even more people haven't seen them this late into the year...
1. Jimmy Howard. He doesn't have as much playoff experience as Evgeni Nabokov, but when Jimmy plays solid hockey, he plays solid hockey, and so does the team in front of him. When he plays shaky, the team in front of him plays shaky: It's not just Jimmy. And hey, if we want to score on the Sharks, just have Dan Boyle try to send the puck around the back of the net!
2. Solid defense. We know how to shut top players down - look at how well Zetterberg covers Crosby when we play them. Look at how amazing Datsyuk was in Game Seven against Phoenix, showing that he deserves to win the Selke another year. This can also be said for
3. Good offense. Our big players have to be our big players, much like Babs said after the last victory. San Jose's biggest players didn't do very much in the first round. We all know that Joe Thornton turns into a ghost in April and beyond, let's keep him like that.
4. I think this is going to be Mule's series. I know everyone around me is saying, "Oh, he's been terrible so far!" He's had a point per game! That's pretty damn good! No, he hasn't had any freaking awesome goals or been absolutely fantastic, but he's been there to help out. Despite this negativity, the second round of 2008 was when Franzen sparkled and had more goals that Colorado combined for the whole series. Maybe COL rubbed off enough on San Jose so that San Jose is more like Colorado and it'll happen again.
5. Get physical! Crunch those Sharks into the boards. Kronwall, I'm looking for you to Kronwall someone, okay? I guaranteed so many people last round that you would Kronwall Shane Doan and you didn't do it. Don't make me look completely stupid, okay? I want to see someone get Kronwalled.
Don't get me wrong - I don't mind the Sharks at all. But picking on them comes naturally to me, like picking on the Maple Leafs comes naturally to, well, everyone.
This will be an interesting series, one that I'm looking forward to. Keep up the solid play, Red Wings. It's what will send you to the Cup Finals for the third year in a row. Or at least the Conference Finals for the fourth year in a row.
PS - Top-Rated Shuffle: #459/1496: Reasons for Waiting - Jethro Tull