The Sharks put some major questions to rest against the Calgary Flames when they poured in five goals in their game seven victory and advanced to the second round of the NHL playoffs for the fourth straight season.
Despite all that momentum and the feel-good atmosphere reigning in Teal Town post-victory, the Sharks have looked fairly foolish in their first two games against Pacific Division rival Dallas.
The pressure will, and should, fall on Ron Wilson. Questions about his ability to win and his willingness to adjust lay temporarily dormant in round one, thanks in large part to a strong showing from his big guns.
But now the Sharks are struggling to beat Marty Turco, despite pummeling him with shots, moving the puck well and getting quality opportunities. They've managed a pair of goals in both contests, proving that Turco is not invincible, but have given up eight tallies to a traditionally defensive Dallas squad.
It could be a case of too much emotion carrying over from the Calgary series. Calgary is a team built on heart, grit and cajones. The Sharks rose to that challenge, and emerged victorious. Now they're skating against a very disciplined, very careful, somewhat boring Dallas team that slowly lulls them to sleep before violently pouncing on any mistake that San Jose might be foolish enough to make.
Add in the fact that Evgeni Nabokov has simply not come close to being as good as the man across from him, and it's not surprising that the Sharks find themselves way behind the eight ball in this semi-final match.
The Sharks proved to the league that they have enough heart, enough grit, and enough resolve to beat the league's talented bruisers. Now they've got to answer the questions about their maturity, and their ability to beat teams at their own game when it matters most.
Bottom line, if the Sharks are going to win this series, they're going to have to win four ugly, boring contests.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!