One more day until San Jose comes to town. This is not a rivalry game. We have no ugly history with them. Hell, they are rarely ever on our radar. But tomorrow’s game is still huge.
Sure, right now they aren’t even a playoff team. But the West is pretty tight. The Sharks are 4 points back from second place. Last night, I watched them make Detroit look pretty damn bad. And I don’t care what their record says, they’re still a good team. They play at an extremely high tempo, control the puck a lot, and keep it in the offensive zone pretty well. All four centers are playing well right now (Thornton, Marleau, Pavelski, rookie Logan Couture), and Heatley andClowe are tearing shit up on the wing. Dan Boyleis their only real dangerous defenseman. That’s a lot of firepower between those 7 guys, but it ends right there.
Aside from those guys, San Joseisn’t putting up scary numbers. Their defense is still pretty tight, but they can’t score like we can. We’re not the same team that got our asses kicked twice last year. I distinctly remember watching the game on November 20th while celebrating my birthday. I remember the horror of watching them skate circles around us, and thinking to myself that we were not in their class. This time around, it’s different. We’re much this year, and we know it. We need to step up and bring it.
I started off this post mentioning that this game is big. The reason is that over the past 2 seasons, San Jose was the best team in the West during the regular season. Sure, they choked in the playoffs, but that’s irrelevant. And in their last game, they looked like the bunch we were humiliated against last year. This game is a measuring post, ot see how good we really are. We’ve struggled a bit lately, gaining points against horrible teams, doing ok against good teams. This will be the best team we’ve faced since Washington three weeks ago. We need to continuously prove that we can play with the best teams in the league.
Finally, on a totally unrelated note, enjoy this picture:
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