The Sharks did not let the late tying goal in Game 5 affect their play as they battled and outshot Vancouver for an additional period and a half, but the way the final tally happened left everybody a little stunned.
Alex Edler went to move the puck off the boards to Antti Niemi
’s left. Everyone’s next move was to play the puck as it sailed around behind the net. The only problem was the vulcanized rubber hit a stanchion and took a miraculous bounce out to Kevin Bieksa who quickly one-timed it home before anyone else knew what had taken place.
“Someone said it hit one of the stanchions,” Marleau said. “Everyone except Bieksa was looking behind the net thinking it was going to wrap around the boards. It was bouncing and he got a shot off. I don’t know how it got back across the ice. The puck was going down the boards, but it’s a bounce.”
There are sometimes odd bounces off the glass, but this one came back at around a 45 degree angle, very unusual for the location where it hit the glass separator.
“One of the most frustrating losses of my career,” Dan Boyle
said. “It’s one of those freaky goals where nobody on the ice saw where the puck was. I can’t explain why that happened, but it did.”
By the time everyone figured it out, the puck was across the goal line.
“Couture was yelling that it was back by the point and I turned and he was shooting it,” Marleau said. “Everybody else’s head was turned toward the net.”
“It happened so quick,” said Ian White, who was on the ice for the final goal. “I saw one of their guys in the corner looking for it too, so I started skating towards him.”
Netminder Antti Niemi
was in the same boat as everyone else and that is why the goal finally happened.
“One of them,” Niemi said of it being one of the weirdest goals scored against him. “I didn’t see it. I looked back for a second and didn’t see the puck there. Then I looked back in front and didn’t see the puck there (and it) was going by.”
The Sharks players had to deal with a season that while successful on many accounts, did not meet their ultimate finish.
“Little bit of both,” Marleau said the shock and frustration. “We had our chances to score earlier. We let it slip away.”
“The sting of the loss is too tough to overcome,” Logan Couture
said. “It just sucks.”
As for the effort in Game 5, Todd McLellan said his players gave it their all.
“It's hard to find passengers today. We felt as good as the game wore on. We were playing our fourth line. They were playing three. We felt we had some control of the game,” McLellan said. “But we obviously didn't get the win, and that's what we came here before. The series itself, we lose a game possibly because of fatigue. We ran out of gas in Game 1. We lose our composure in Game 2. We get to Game 4 and it's a matter of about four minutes worth of penalties. Tonight was bounces, in my opinion. We got better as the series went on.”
“Tough series, we lost and they go on, so disappointed right now,” said Captain Joe Thornton
, who it was acknowledged played Game 5 with a separate shoulder. “We had to win, but we didn’t. It’s disappointing because I felt like this team was special this year. A lot of good guys.”
Niemi was a perfect 6-0 in playoff series until this round.
“Until the end, I thought we were going to win,” Niemi said.