No offense to the gritty, give-it-all-they've-got Calgary Flames, but Tuesday night's game was all about the San Jose Sharks.
More to the point, this was their game, their series, to win or lose. There could only be a victory celebration or excuses as to why the Pacific Division champs again failed to live up to their immense postseason potential. But there were no mumbled apologies following Game 7. After a few rocky moments -- the ugly demon doubt surely popped up on the bench after
But even in doing so, San Jose left several questions floating, the kind that inevitably dog a favored team emerging from a series that went longer than it should have. Those questions provide a juicy subtext for their second round collision with the Dallas Stars, a matchup that gets underway Friday at the Shark Tank.
But while he's earned him a few days respite from pink slip talk, the questions about his ability to take this group to the next level weren't answered by the win over Calgary. The team's lack of intensity, especially in blowing Game 3 and their total no-show effort in Game 6, leave him open to criticism. Were those bumps in the road, or signs that his team is not prepared to snap a neck when given the chance?
The fine work of
There certainly were moments here and there when his puck-moving prowess caught your attention, and his work on the power play was credible, but defensively he was a nightmare. His positional play was weak (watch his blunder that directly led to Nolan's breakaway goal), and his decision-making -- usually one of his strengths -- was off, leading to passes that went nowhere and breakouts that fizzled in the neutral zone.
Campbell probably won't be hit as often by the Stars as he was by the Flames, so that might buy him a bit more time in the second round. What he makes of that opportunity could be as critical to the outcome as the dual between netminders