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Thursday, May 1

Games 3 and 4 at home

I've only got a moment, but I do have a few thoughts on what I've seen over the past two days.

In game 3 Dallas won in overtime 2-1, and in game 4 the Sharks won it in regulation 2-1.

First off, Morrow is a possessed hockey playing machine that is dominating every game. He's hitting everything in sight, taking shots, making plays, and generally running amok. When you consider his size relative to the people he's running over, it's just that much more impressive. Outside of Detroit's Franzen, he may be the best player going in these playoffs.

Second, Ribero is following Morrow's lead. He's been physical, aggressive, and inspired. He leads the playoffs in points and assists, and has been more than anyone had hoped for. He's an excellent teammate and playmaker, and he's clearly at the top of his game right now.

With that said, the Sharks are a talented, proud, and hard-working team that will not go into the night quietly. A series win would exceed most expectations of this club, but a sweep would have blow them out of the water. The Sharks collectively are a remarkably strong defensive team, and when they decide to just shut it all down they've been very effective.

Thornton is just a gigantic machine and is scary every time he touches the puck. The Stars have been doing a nice job of running into him when he gets the puck near the net, but he's just incredibly good at shoveling the puck out into the slot before taking the blow. Marleau has been the story though. He scored multiple breakaway goals against Turco, and singlehandedly won the game last night for the Sharks. He's been opportunistic with his scoring in those opportunities, though he's been transparent otherwise.

In the end though, the Stars have just generally been far less opportunistic in those same scoring opportunities. The first period of game 3 ended 0-0, but it clearly could have been 4-1 Stars. The Stars eventually went on to win it in overtime, but it really didn't have to be that close if they could cash in on the scoring chances that were being generated. Ditto the early part of game 4. A lot of credit has to be given to the Sharks defensive game and goaltending in these two games, but the Stars are going to have to continue to expect such things as the playoffs continue.

I initially predicted a Stars win in 7 and multiple overtime games. I'm convinced now that the Sharks have dug themselves too deep of a hole to get out of and this one should end in game 5 or six. This is mainly based on the fact that last night the Sharks played almost flawless hockey the entire game and barely squeaked out a win. They'll have to stay at that almost level for 3 more games and continue to get the bounces in order to push this thing to a seventh game, and I just don't see that happening. The Stars, and Brendan Morrow in partcular, are just too determined to finish this thing off.

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