Game Time: 9:30 Central
TV/Radio: Comcastl/WGN 720
Pirates of Silicon Valley: Fear The Fin, Battle of California
(Just as a personal aside regarding the limo thing - having played hockey the vast majority of my life, I feel somewhat vindicated in my own propensity for doing dumb drunken things and being photographed at least partially nude. Friend me on Facebook if you doubt either. But this proves that it's not just me, it's a hockey thing. At least that's what I'm telling myself.)
Alright, after two days of rampant speculation regarding shirtless hockey players, Canadian hosebags, and limo rides, we can finally focus on the games at hand. And what a game it should be tonight, between the two best teams in the league points-wise, with an opportunity for the Hawks to tie the league-leading Sharks with a regulation win this evening.
The Sharks come into the game having won five straight as a part of their perennial dominance of the regular season. Of those five wins, however, only two of them came against some real competition, though, those being against the Kings and Sabres. Though the 9-1 skullfucking of the Flames shouldn't be scoffed at, their struggles of late make that result hardly surprising. The key trend during that time, however, is that aside from the win streak, as that the Sharks have allowed two goals or less in their last 8 games. Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley are still doing what everyone expected them to do, and Patrick Marleau is doing well at making himself quite rich as an unrestricted free agent with 35 goals so far this campaign. Evgeni Nabokov's GAA is comparable to that of Cristobal Huet, but is boasting an excellent save percentage of .927, which will come in handy given the amount of vulcanized rubber that the Hawks put on opposing netminders, as they did during the last time the teams met in December at the United Center. Not to mention that the Sharks will be looking to avenge the 7-2 ass-waxing they took on Black Wendesday in front of the Shark Tank denizens. Olympian Dan Boyle is questionable for tonight's game, and if he's out of the lineup, that would be quite a void on the blue line for the Sharks to fill
For the visiting Men of Four Feathers, they're now playing in their seventh game of an eight game road trip, and with only the lowly Hurricanes on the docket after tonight. After a methodical victory over Edmonton on Tuesday, a victory tonight would ensure a winning trip, on top of tying the Sharks for the best record in the conference, as well as give them a tie-breaker should it come to it at the end of the year for playoff seedings. The Hawks have gotten a little sloppy in their own zone lately, and if that continues tonight, the Sharks are a team that will make them pay dearly. Brent Sopel again looks to be questionable, so Jordan Hendry may see time with Cam Barker once again as he did in Edmonton. Look for John Madden, Brent Seabrook, and Duncan Keith to see a lot of the Thornton line, and for the rest of the Hawks forecheckers to put as many pucks at Nabby as possible. Tonight's a big one kiddies, for those of you who are working tomorrow, be prepared to stay up late with the possibility of showing up a bit groggy tomorrow.