After tonight one team will be able to smell second round. This intense knotted up series (tied 2-2) has seen; both teams able to dominate the other, insanely fluky bounces for each squad, 3 overtime games, all 4 games decided by one goal, unbelievable record-setting performances, devastating hits, the inexplicable and the unpredictable.
After Tuesday night's 2-1 OT win by the Sharks, San Jose seized back home ice advantage and now it's a best of 3 series. The Avs have had an answer for SJ's biggest stars in Heatley, Thornton, and Marleau, but haven't been able to contain the hardworking second line of Pavelski, Clowe, and Oscar-nominated actress Devin Setoguchi. Meanwhile, the Avs' own second line has been depleted by injuries. Mueller, Hejduk and Jones remain out and will not travel to Northern California. Coach Sacco did give some reason for optimism as he said he is "hopeful" to get Hejduk back at some point in the series. Porter will also be available and may return to the ice tonight. Wilson was a healthy scratch in game 4 in favor of Ruslan Salei. No word yet on which 6th defenseman* Sacco will throw into the fire tonight when the puck drops at the hostile Shark Tank. *UPDATE: Wilson IN, Salei OUT
After being dominated for much of games 2 and 3, the Avs threw down a solid 60+ minute effort in game 4 and were the better team, but as we've seen in this series, the better team doesn't always win the game. I believe the Avs proved in game 4 that they can compete with the Sharks. By now they should have effectively silenced the haters, and I wager there aren't nearly as many detractors left that would guarantee flat out the the Avs have no chance in the series (besides AD).
This series has delivered heart-pounding action-packed entertainment for any hockey fan. No matter what happens tonight or in the upcoming game(s), the Avs have nothing to lose. They have already made believers out of skeptics while vindicating themselves and their "fluke" season. I bet there were a lot of broom returns at local San Jose Wal-Marts this month.
Now let's snag game 5 in San Jose so we can clinch the series on home ice on Saturday. GO AVS!!
|Game 5: Thursday, April 22 Avs @ Sharks 8:30 p.m. Altitude/CBC/VERSUS/RDS|
Game 6: Saturday, April 24 Sharks @ Avs TBD Altitude/CBC/RDS Buy Tickets
|Game 7: Monday, April 26* Avs @ Sharks TBD|