As Patrick Marleau and the San Jose Sharks head back to Calgary for Game 6 of their series with the Flames, there is still plenty left to decide in this rollercoaster of a first-round matchup.
Most followers of this series agree that the Sharks are very fortunate to be holding a 3-2 lead, as the dangerous Jerome Iginla and his Flames have outplayed the favored San Jose in nearly every period all five games.
Even after San Jose, which has looked sluggish and flustered on many occasions during the past week, broke open a 4-1 lead in the third period of Game 5, the boys in teal seemed to relax (again), and Calgary cut the lead to 4-3 before time expired.
With a trip back to the always-ecstatic Saddledome looming for Game 6, will the Sharks finally return to their season-ending dominant form?
If Coach Ron Wilson's team has one thing to feed off of on right now, it's the outburst of star Jonathan Cheechoo, who scored two goals in Game 5, after a less-than impressive start to the series. If Cheechoo can continue to make plays, San Jose will be tough to stop.
With the four-goal output in Game 5, it seems like the Sharks are returning to form. I feel like they have finally turned the corner in this series, and will do just enough to drive off the pesky Flames once and for all with a 3-2 victory in Game 6.
Calgary has surprised many doubters in this series, but now sits one game from elimination. It's now time for Mike Keenan's crew to band together, as it has for much of the first round. If goalie Mika Kipprusoff can keep his net locked up, and the Flames can bounce back with another physical performance, this series can easily head back to San Jose for a deciding seventh game.
In a round full of twists and turns, it might be best to expect the unexpected.
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