The San Jose Sharks can smile, if just a little, thanks to another come from behind win. This time they poured it on in the third period, scoring two goals and taking the game to OT where Marleau finished off the 4-3 win thanks to a thread-the-needle pass from Thornton on a counter-attack.
Of all the stories, perhaps none is bigger than Logan Couture’s late third period goal that made the win even remotely possible.
With a name like that, Luke Skywalker had better watch out.
An innocent looking play, Couture tossed the puck from an impossible angle in the corner, along the goal line towards Detroit goalie Howard who appeared surprised to see the puck slip between his pads. Score one for the Sharks. But also score one for the Ottawa 67’s who continue to feed world class NHL power to the league (Disclosure: Yes, as an Ottawa boy that wears #67 at Logitech Ice games in San Jose, I am biased).
Once again I had to change the title of my draft about tonight’s game.
After two periods, I had already made a head start on the story with the title “Detroit puts everyone to sleep including the San Jose offense.”
For the first two-thirds of the game, this was exactly the case. But I couldn’t help but think this was not the killer Red Wings of the past. They, Steve Yzerman and company, would not have let this game slip away. Where was the killer instinct? They say this is Hockey Town, and yet, if I were a home town fan tonight I’d be crying in my beer. The San Jose Sharks stole this game. What a way to take a stranglehold.
You won’t hear my complaining, however. Not one iota.
The turning point.
Game three was unpredictable. At first I though the Nabokov save on the penalty shot in the first period would be The Turning Point. But no, Cleary came back shortly after for Detroit with a nice goal.
Then I thought the Setoguchi goal with only 3.2 seconds left in the first period would be the back breaker. But, no again. Zetterberg responded early in the second with the only goal of the period. A softy, no doubt, but a goal no less.
By the way, does Boyle have offensive talent or what? He played a hell of a game.
But ultimately Big Joe made the real difference. Once again, he used his big butt (aka “size”) to swing around the net, bringing the Sharks within a goal early in the third. That so much time remained must have felt like a sucker punch for the home town crowd.
It was one of those games that shoulda, oughta, coulda. But noughta. At least if you’re a Red Wings fan.
I had to smile watching Couture’s interview between the third period and OT. He said, “We’re desperate!” Then, he indicated that the Sharks were intent on finishing the series in Detroit. That no one wanted to go back to HP Pavilion to face Detroit for more hockey. Wow, I thought, either this guy is demonstrating rookie interview nerves, or the ultimate in swagger. Either way I kind of liked it. Maybe the Sharks need more of this. Belief! Confidence! Determination!
The OT winner was icing on the cake. Thornton capped a fine game with a superb pass to Marleau who easily beat the over-committed Howard. It was a Kodak moment for the older boys—and superstars may I remind everyone who has lost track of salaries—who had been losing luster to the younger up-starts such as Pavelski. I’m sure they’re not complaining though.
Marleau later said about Jose Thornton, “He’s playing cool out there.”
Finally it appears that the San Jose Sharks have the killer instinct needed to make a serious run.
Molson Canadians also for: Demers (solid positioning), Boyle (stellar again), Setoguchi (scoring threat), Nabokov (strong second half especially).
Well I guess my wife Loni can also smile. She gets a foot bath or massage. Her choice. When Sharks win, she gets a luxury pamper. Earlier tonight I thought I was off the hook. But now I need to pay my dues. Somehow, though, it doesn’t feel so bad.
Ah, a 3-0 series lead. What a rare feeling.