Time: 7:00 PM
TV: CBC, RDS, NBCSN, Fox Sports West
Enemy reading: Fear the Fin
Sharks (projected) lineup:
Kings (projected) lineup:
Injured: n/a; Scratched:
- Alex Stalock is a thing that is happening! Well, to be perfectly accurate, Alex Stalock has been happening for the past two games after Niemi got pulled twice, but tonight, he gets to start his own playoff game. Good for you, buddy! I hope you get shelled.
- Given Niemi's relatively poor play, and what little we know about Stalock, this reads as a panic move, but not necessarily that impactful of a move. The Sharks won three games because their skaters were overwhelmingly good, and lost two games because of bounces and then because their skaters were terrible. Niemi didn't have much to do with anything, and Stalock probably won't either.
- Jarret Stoll's stupid and unnecessary arm to Marc-Edouard Vlasic appears to have injured him. It's being called an "upper-body injury", but no specifics have been provided, and no timeline has been given for his recovery/return. I know we're all genuinely very sorry about this, because Jarret Stoll is frequently a careless, dangerous hockey player, and we like it when our enemies are fighting at full strength. If you're not sorry about this, don't talk about it in the comments, because nobody is interested in hearing about it.
- Vlasic's place in the lineup is being taken by previous healthy scratch Matt Irwin. I don't...know anything about Matt Irwin. He's probably better than Scott Hannan? His numbers are mediocre on a very good possession team, so he's certainly not a full replacement for the high-performing Vlasic, but he's not a black hole either.
- The Sharks have so much more drama entering into this game than the Kings, despite the fact that they're still up 3-2, and that only three times in NHL history have coughed up series after going up 3-0. Yes, the Kings were dominating in game four, but the Sharks were just as dominating in games one and two, and it wasn't all because of Vlasic. The sturm und drang nonsense coming out of the Sharks' fanbase is very bewildering given that the numbers remain prohibitively in their favour.
- (I'm trying to reverse jinx this business. Is it working?)
- One area that hasn't faltered for the Sharks is their power play, which remains absolutely lethal. If the Kings could stay out of the goddamn penalty box, that would be aces. (Spoiler: they probably can't.)
- ~Fun With Numbers~ from Extra Skater.
- Prediction: Kings win and tie the series and an abrupt blackness falls upon the Bay area and a soft, low laughter can be heard rolling in from the dark water and in their heartbeats there is fear.