Sports Outside the Beltway

Preview?- San Jose beats Washington 5-2

Are these the two teams that will face off in the Stanley Cup finals. From AP-

Joe Thornton had an unusual decision to make when he prepared for his penalty shot in the third period. Having watched teammate Ryane Clowe already convert a penalty shot with a backhander, Thornton figured he needed to try a different tact.SJ-Wash

“I was thinking of going to the backhand but Clowe kind of perfected that earlier,” Thornton said. “So I thought I’d go with the shot and see what I could do.”

Thornton delivered, making San Jose the first team in more than 27 years to score on two penalty shots in a game. The Sharks went on to beat the Washington Capitals 5-2 Wednesday night.

“It’s kind of strange having two in one game,” Thornton said. “I’m not sure the last time that happened.”

It hadn’t happened since Feb. 11, 1982, when Thomas Gradin and Ivan Hlinka converted for Vancouver in Detroit.

That Clowe and Thornton managed to do it could be somewhat surprising considering their records in shootouts. Thornton has missed both shootout attempts this season, while Clowe has made just one of five.

A single penalty shot doesn’t happen very often. For instance, my favorite team the Florida Panthers, hasn’t had one occur in any of their 40 games this season.

San Jose with Thornton, Deny Heatley, Patrick Marleau plus Evegeni Nabokov in goal, I think is the class of the Western Conference. I’ve always put down Washington because of their mediocre goaltending(Jose Theodore and his 3.05 Goals against average stink but The Capitals other goalies this year have been good to very good.). It is hard to bet against a team with someone like Alexander Ovechkin. I do think there is a 50% chance or more that Washington and San Jose will play for the Stanley Cup next spring.

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