Sharks: hungry and balanced 

May, 5, 2010

Hockey is a funny game. Sometimes the twists and turns are so hard to figure. For instance, who knew that Dan Boyle's accidental overtime own-goal would send the previously fragile San Jose Sharks on a six-game playoff winning streak?

Not me, obviously.

I don't know if there was any connection to Boyle's bad break (to be fair, his attempted back-pass did hit the stick of Colorado Avalanche forward Ryan O'Reilly before going into the Sharks' net), but the Sharks have looked a little more battle-ready since then.

In each of their last two games, the Sharks have overcome a third-period deficit en route to victory. Last night, on the road, they were down 3-1 before getting goals from Joe Thornton and Logan Couture to send the game to overtime. In the extra session, when opportunity knocked, they took full advantage with Patrick Marleau converting a picture-perfect pass from Thornton to win it.

Right now, the Sharks are about balance and hunger. They are getting contributions from everyone in their lineup and they're staying focused (no matter the circumstance of the moment) on their shift-to-shift play. Head coach Todd McLellan has been adept at mixing his forwards into different trios depending upon the situation. His guys have responded. In the key moments of this series, they've been able to push the Wings back on their heels.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.