This is exactly the percursor to the end result that the NFL intends with each and every playoff series. Every fan, aside from wanting their team to breeze through their given opposition, wants to see game seven in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. There will be fans of 28 teams watching game seven between the San Jose Sharks and the Detroit Red Wings, rooting interest be damned. Somewhere, deep down inside, Sharks and Red Wings fans alike are getting exactly what they expected out of the series, even if the journey to game seven didn't go exactly as either team would hope.
It's just that, right now the Red Wings fans seem to be bursting with confidence, while the Sharks fans are setting themselves up for disappointment. Is there such a thing as momentum in the sport of hockey? It's debatable, but let's go with "yes," for the sake of this piece. Any team with any strength at all will not let that kind of momentum carry into and overwhelm them in game seven of the playoffs. It just won't happen. Do remember that, right now, there are 26 teams with an entire roster of players who, if you told them that right now that they could be less than 24 hours away from playing a game seven that could send them to the conference finals, would absolutely jump at the opportunity.
We already discussed Logan Couture and his tweet, hopefully it will have served as some form of empowerment to the rest of the team. The Sharks are on equal footing against a team that they feel they can beat. They're at square one, things are as simple as they can be: beat the Red Wings, and you get one step closer to hoisting The Cup. Win in a situation that 90% of the league would kill to be in right now, and you're closer to achieving the goal your career is based upon.
You know, that's easier said than done, and it's not necessarily easy to even say. Everything will need to go right in this game, from Patrick Marleau elevating his play to Joe Thornton being an effective captain and getting everybody pumped up as he should. Ryane Clowe returning would definitely be nice, and the Sharks need to stay out of the penalty box. If there's anything that we can hang our hat on in this series, it's that the power play is absolutely deadly and has been the deciding factor in no less than four of the six games played thus far.
Outside of that, they'll need to contain players like Pavel Datsyuk, who in each of the three Red Wings wins, has victimized a Sharks player on his way to a goal or assist, or Darren Helm, who has lit the lamp due to his great speed. Antti Niemi will need to be just as solid as he has been, and even more so, limiting the little mistakes that he's been making outside of his amazing saves. Jimmy Howard certainly isn't giving up softies in net for the Red Wings.
Game six was domination from beginning to end, with perhaps five of the sixty minutes swayed in San Jose's favor. The Red Wings showed a more proficient ability to skate, shoot, pass, hit and win faceoffs. That simply cannot happen in game seven.
These are the Stanley Cup Playoffs, what every player is shooting for. This is game seven, the most exciting and pivotal game in any series. At the very least, history will be made.