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These aren't the Sharks of years past

May 5, 2010, 12:45 PM EDT

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Well, these certainly aren’t the San Jose Sharks we were all laughing
at after Dan Boyle’s own goal doomed them in overtime in the first
round. Since then, they’ve become a much more well-rounded, balanced,
confident and dangerous team. After last night’s big comeback win, the
Sharks are now just one win away from the Conference finals.

Yep,
you read that right. The Sharks are close to heading to the Western
Conference finals.

David Pollack of the San Jose Mercury News has
some great quotes from the Sharks on their big win yesterday, but
this one from coach Todd McLellan really stood out:

“We knew we were a different team and I guess what we have to do is
prove that to the hockey world.  We believed we were different and we
believed in each other.”

The Sharks were outplayed in the first 40 minutes of the
game, especially in the second period. Watching it, I thought to myself
that this was going to be another demoralizing Sharks loss that lets
the Red Wings get momentum and likely tie the series up before it heads
back to San Jose. With how the team has responded to adversity before in
the past, there was likely going to be a possibility that the Red Wings
could win the series if that happened.

Yet the Sharks came alive
in the third when in the past they’ve folded, and Joe Thornton (yes, Joe
Thornton) made the plays that gave his team a chance to win. This is a
different Sharks team.

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