For those of you who wonder what the hell I'm doing, let's review.
Detailed, numbers driven, historically grounded game predictions are still just predictions.
No matter how sophisticated the breakdown, any prediction is still, at its core, a wild-ass guess.
So, a few months ago I started posting wholly unscientific predictions of Red Wings game results, accompanied by, the now minimally famous, Crystal Ball image.
Such predictions were fanciful and rarely came true, but what is significant is that every time these predictions have been posted, the Wings have won.
Even when I've predicted a loss, the mojo of the Crystal Ball was enough to get the Wings a "W". Seriously, the Ball is 4-0.
So, despite the horrendous officiating thus far and the Wings' uncanny ability to make the Sharks look like world-beaters, the Red Wings will win tonight and begin their climb out of their 0-2 hole.
As always, what follows is my analysis of the game, the game winning goal-scorer and of course, the final score.
Red Wings 4, Sharks 1
You'd think with so much on the line, the Wings would come out flying in the first period, but instead, they end up enduring a massive push by the Sharks in the first few minutes of Game Three.
The Sharks fore-check hard and employ a "shoot from anywhere" strategy against Jimmy Howard.
However, the rookie goalie stands tall long enough to give his team a chance to get in the game.
Once they find their legs, the Wings start giving it back to the Sharks and end up opening the scoring on a Dan Cleary goal.
The Wings finish the period strong and go into the first intermission, 1-0.
The Wings start much better in the second, but an early goal by the Sharks knots the score up at one apiece.
The Wings get a power play (yes, the refs actually call one against San Jose) mid-way through the game and turn it into a 2-1 lead as Tomas Holmstrom jams one past Evegni Nabokov.
In the last minute of the period, Johan Franzen rips one glove side into the net, giving his team a 3-1 lead at the end of the second period.
The third period marks the first time in this series that Jimmy Howard truly give his team a chance.
A combination of power plays and great individual efforts give the Sharks ample opportunity to tie the game, but Howard turns away every shot he faces, restoring the fans' faith in their heretofore pedestrian starting goalie.
With Nabokov pulled, the Sharks make a push in the last minute of the third, but Henrik Zetterberg sails the puck into the empty net for a 4-1 final, with Holmstrom's second period power-play goal standing up as the game winner.
There you have it folks.
As always, I ask you to stare, gawk or gaze into the Crystal Ball and post your prediction!