The Bruins have already won their first round series, and they already know they will be playing Montreal in round two. Game one is tomorrow night.
The first round will come to an end tonight after the completion of three game sevens. New York and Philadelphia, Colorado and Minnesota, and the game I want to talk about right now, San Jose and Los Angeles.
I beat on the San Jose Sharks a lot. One of my golden rules for playoff predictions is to always pick against the Sharks. One might think it’s because I hate them. No, that is not the case. In fact, I think they are awesome. During the regular season, in the days before the last lock out, I would often find myself dialing in Sharks games on the radio (by radio I mean iPad) when I couldn’t fall asleep at night.
Why then do I give them such a hard time? Simple. Playoff history. There was a stretch 5-10 years ago where I picked them to at least make the Western Finals if not win the Stanley Cup every year. They were a powerhouse. They owned the West during the regular season, year after year. They were awesome to watch. Then the playoffs would come and they would turtle and get their asses whooped by some clearly inferior team and I would have a big black mark on my playoff predictions.
At some point along the way I instigated the Sharks doctrine. Now I only pick them to win a series when their opponent is supremely awful. More often than not, when I pick against them I am picking right.
It just so happens that this year they matched up with the Kings. The Kings and the Sharks (and the Oilers, although not recently) have been the Western Conference teams I followed, again prior to last year’s insulting lock out. The Kings have an A-list goalie. I would have picked them against anyone. It was just a nice deal that I could pick them over San Jose.
Game seven is tonight, and I have one more huge reason to root against the Sharks.
We all remember the mental breakdown all Bruins fans suffered in 2010. The B’s took that magical 3-0 series lead over Philly and it turned into a curse as we watched in horror as Philly won game seven. It’s only happened three times in NHL history. Three times, a team has blown a 3-0 series lead and lost the round 4-3. The Bruins are just the most recent example.
Tonight, however, history could be made once again. The Sharks murderlized the Kings in the first two games. Then they won game three in overtime. Since then? The Sharks have lost by three goals scores in games four through six. The series is now tied at three games a piece. The Sharks have home ice advantage in tonight’s game seven, but I am optimistic that both the Sharks doctrine will be upheld, and that the Bruins will no longer be looked at as the last team to blow a 3-0 series lead.
The Kings. The Los Angeles Kings. They must, MUST win this game tonight. They must put the Sharks away. They must score early and often and break their spirit. Not because I hate the Sharks, not because I am rooting for the Kings so much (the Bruins are winning the cup this year, therefore I will not have to pick a back up team to root for like I did two years ago), but because the memory of 2010 still stings me, and I want another team to go through the same misery in the hopes that it will serve as a buffer between me and the memory of the Bruins failure. Not even winning the Stanley Cup in 2011 could erase the agony of 2010. Maybe this will at least ease it a little more.
I honestly hope that some day Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau will hoist the Cup in front of their Bay Area faithful. I mean it. Despite everything, I still consider myself to be a big Joe Thornton fan.
I just don’t want it to be this season, and I most definitely do not want to see them win tonight.
Oh yes, Go Kings!