Do the San Jose Sharks finally have the monkey off their backs? It certainly appears that way right now! The Sharks came from behind to beat the Red Wings 4-3 in overtime on a goal by soon to be unrestricted free agent Patrick Marleau. And the Sharks did it coming from down two with less than 14-minutes remaining in regulation time!
In a previous post, I documented the Sharks playoff disappointments with so much expected from the regular season giants! And a big reason the Sharks go into game four tomorrow night in Detroit with a commanding three games to none lead is the play of Joe Thornton! Of course the Sharks are a star-studded team with the likes of Marleau, Dan Boyle, Rob Blake and Dany Heatley, not to mention the postseason heroics of Joe Pavelski. But, it is Thornton's play so far in this series that has grabbed my attention. He has been often referred to as "No Show Joe," but last night he led San Jose with a goal and an assist on the game-winner on a 2-on-1 rush in overtime.
These Sharks haven't been to the Western Conference Finals since 2004, disappointing their loyal fans since with unexpected early exits from the playoffs. It certainly does not appear to be the case this time.
And oh yes, a quick word about former Blue Jacket Manny Malhotra, who has been strong in these playoffs. A far cry from his mistake last summer in over-estimating his value after a solid season with the Blue Jackets in '08-'09. You will recall CBJ General Manager Scott Howson stated at season's end, getting Malhotra re-signed was a top priority along with an extension for Team Captain Rick Nash. Malhotra and the Jackets were far apart on a multi-year deal, Malhotra then turned down a reported deal or two for the money he was looking for, but not with the teams he was interested in playing for. By that time many holes were filled throughout the NHL and it wasn't until after the start of training camp that Malhotra was able to sign with the Sharks at a greatly reduced rate! That's all behind him and Malhotra should cash in this summer based, I believe, on his performance this season and in the playoffs where he continues to get power-play time on a gifted offensive hockey team.
*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "Bobby Mac", "Davidge Dishes" and "Rimer Ramblings." The Columbus Blue Jackets radio and television analysts will try to keep you updated on all the season action through their blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets are on the road.