Do you miss the 80’s? Last night the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings did everything possible to evoke those wild, wide-open NHL games from the decade best known for Duran Duran, skinny ties, and Max Headroom. Oh– and, did I mention, goals?
Even LA center Ryan Smyth (former Edmonton Oiler star, wouldn’t you know it) seemed to be channeling Gretzky’s ghost from behind the Shark’s net in the second period. He sat there for what seemed like ages after the two teams had battled so brutally, and had sped so furiously up and down the ice for almost forty minutes… a short saucer pass resulting in a winning goal seemed imminent. But it was not to be for this Staples Center crowd, not on this evening at least.
Some how, some way, the San Jose Sharks pulled off the unthinkable in game three of their first round playoff series against L.A.: they found a way to overcome a 4-0 deficit in the first period to take a 2-1 series lead.
In the words of Robert De Niro in “Casino,” it could not happen, would not happen. The probability of this kind of comeback — especially after looking so listless, so disinterested in the first period — ranks up there with… well, Minnesota’s 1985 5-4 come-from-behind win in Chicago. In fact, this Sharks victory tonight was the fourth greatest playoff come back of all time. No wonder ghosts of Gretzky were smiling, this was a very special evening for fans of hockey (and the Sharks!).
It was the kind of win that you love if you come out on top, and absolutely hate if you don’t.
So keep that in mind. I may be slightly biased when I suggest this was a fantastic demonstration of the speed, the beauty of the game that is the NHL.
Still, I feel as if Thornton has another gear, and his best is yet to (hopefully) come. Ditto for Marleau who showed signs of breaking loose on occasion, and potted a nice goal on a sweet slap-pass from slick-skating defenseman Dan Boyle.
Logan Couture: Props, again. The guy looks like he’s perpetually being shot from a canon. He chases pucks with wanton abandon, and slams into boards after fiercely chasing down pucks in the offensive zone like a kid still chasing a dream. It’s exciting to watch.
Murray: Nice, solid defensive effort.
Niemi: No worries.
Clowe: Yes, exactly.
Setoguchi: Hello, playoff warrior!
The only ghostfaces seen on this evening were in the stands. For the rest of us in NorCal, hope floats.