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NHL Playoffs, Blackhawks vs. Sharks, Game 4: O Pavelski, where art thou?

May 23, 2010, 1:15 PM EDT

Chicago
Blackhawks vs. San Jose Sharks, Game 4

3:00 p.m. EDT, May 23, 2010
Live on NBC

Blackhawks lead series 3-0

To be fair, this
entire San Jose Sharks team has been immensely frustrated by the
Blackhawks. They’ve scored just five goals in three games despite
putting 118 shots on net between all three losses.

Yet
you have to wonder: what happened to Joe Pavelski?

Pavelski,
still the leading scorer in the playoffs for the Sharks, had nine goals
and six assists in the first two series and became the answer for the
question “how do the Sharks win if Joe Thornton struggles again?”

His dominant play in the second round against the Red Wings
took the pressure off of Thornton and the other star players on the
team, knowing that they wouldn’t be relied upon to provide all the
offense once more. Pavelski’s emergence was also supposed to be the
difference from past seasons, giving the Sharks the edge they needed to
finally get over the wall they hit every year in the postseason.

His line in three games against the Blackhawks: 0 goals, 1
assist, 11 shots.

So now the Sharks are right back
where they were, with Joe Thornton and the top line with all the
pressure to score and once again failing to do so. The Hawks have used
their checking line to perfection against Thornton, with Dave Bolland
frustrating Thornton to an incredible degree.

With
Pavelski failing to continue his hot play against the Blackhawks, here
are the stats for the top players on the Sharks so far this series:

Joe Thornton – 0 goals, 1 assist; even.

Dany
Heatley – 0 goals, 2 assists, minus-3

Dan Boyle – 0
goals, 5 assists, minus-1

Patrick Marleau – 4 goals, 1
assist, minus-3

Anything stand out about those
numbers?

Pavelski’s struggles have played right into
the hands of the Blackhawks, who have been able to stick their third
line on Thornton and then let loose with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane
and company. The Sharks have yet to be able to respond, and Dustin
Byfuglien’s performance is proof of just how valuable secondary scoring
is the deeper you get into the playoffs (I understand he plays on the
top line).

The Sharks are hoping to at least make
this an interesting series and avoid the sweep this afternoon. Without
Joe Pavelski (among others) actually stepping up, they won’t have
anything resembling a chance of prolonging this series.

  1. skimom27 - May 23, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    If you listen to Mike Milbury, the Sharks are the greatest – as usual, nothing good to say about Blackhawks. Milbury is a loser, will someone please tell me why he is a commentator? Should be Roenick.

  2. Little Tommy - May 23, 2010 at 7:57 PM

    Yea, yea, yea…Pavelski and Thornton were frustrated. The Sedin twins before them were frustrated! Do we see a pattern here? Give credit where credit is due. Maybe the Hawks D is just that good!

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