The first 10 minutes of this hockey game might tell us where the rest of this series is headed. That's a lot of pressure to put on one-sixth of one game in a possible seven-game series. But a lot is riding on the first 10 minutes tonight.
All the fisticuffs and shenanigans at the end of Saturday's Game 2 weren't all started by the Blues, but it felt like they ended all of them. Emphatically. Players were hitting the ice, and the guys in teal were seemed to be on their backs. A lot.
That happened two days ago, including one long, probably quiet plane flight to San Jose. So it's all sunk in. The realization has hit. If you're a Sharks player, you realize the Blues beat you on the scoreboard and physically on the ice. Plus, it's the first game of the playoffs at their home rink, the fans will be wanting some Blues blood. The energy level will be turned up to an 11 when the puck drops tonight.
But ponder this situation. If the Blues can manage to take a lead or at worst hold a tie with the Sharks, say halfway through the first period, the momentum is going to shift. That burst from the crowd is going to subside (we saw it here Thursday night). The flow of the game will return to a more normal pace, a pace often dictated by the Blues so far in this series. If they play their game with the aggressive forecheck, limiting Sharks shots, clogging the middle and quick counterattacks, the Blues will be in the driver's seat.
So that Chris Stewart has another chance to redeem himself. While everyone acknowledges that he wasn't horrible, just playing okay wasn't good enough. After sitting out Game 2, he's expected back tonight. Matt D'Agostini is expected to join the Jaden Schwartz Press Box Buffet Crew (patent pending). I would have liked to see that physical Ryan Reaves back. Hope he's not dinged up from Game 1 and we're not hearing about it.
It's late. The playoffs are nerve-wracking. Enough chit chat. Let's get ready rumble. This is your game day thread. Comment like you want to break a Sharks player's nose.