The Sharks seemed to be doing everything right Wednesday night against St. Louis, but with less than eight minutes remaining in regulation, they had yet to find a goal and they were trailing by one. San Jose simply kept plugging away and eventually tied the contest and pulled out the game in overtime thanks to a great all around play from Dany Heatley.
Late in the overtime, Heatley found himself on a long shift with the Blues attacking. He blocked an attempted shot and then turned on the jets. He sped out of reach of his Blues pursuers.
“I knew were pretty even and I got a little step,” said Heatley.
“I was surprised he was able to pull away,” said Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan. “We were trying to get him off.”
Heatley had a bit of gas left in the tank and it was enough to fuel the victory.
“Everyone was up on the bench,” said Marleau.
“He was tired, but he did a great job,” said Nabokov who had a unique view of the situation.
Then it was a matter of beating the St. Louis netminder.
“I played with Mason at the World Championships last year so he had an idea of what I like to do,” said Heatley.
Whether he guessed right or not, Mason had no chance against the perfectly placed wrister.
Heatley’s team-leading sixth game-winning goal is tied for second overall in the NHL with Rich Peverley of Atlanta.
Heatley’s goal would not have been possible without Patrick Marleau
’s tally late in the third. It was Marleau’s 28th goal of the season and he remains in a tie with Marian Gaborik for the league lead.
“Patty’s goal was huge to tie it up,” said Heatley.
Marleau took advantage of Torrey Mitchell
flying in front of the netminder for a screen and then had his shot deflect off a defender’s stick and in.
There was much confusion about who actually got the goal even when the game was concluded. At one point Mitchell was told it was his prior to addressing the media.
“I had no idea,” said Mitchell. “I was just going to the net and trying to front the goalie. Patty made a good shot.”
There was a reason Mitchell had no idea and it was proper returned to Marleau. Marleau had been chirping his teammate a bit for taking the goal, only to realize it stayed with the shooter.
“I was giving him a hard time, but now I feel bad,” said Marleau upon learning the goal had been returned to him. “Mitchy did all the work.”
Evgeni Nabokov was outstanding in the pipes and could not be blamed in the least for the Blues lone goal. On the play, Andy McDonald fell on top of Nabokov outside the crease, preventing him from making the save. Rob Blake valiantly kneed in front the goal line and blocked one shot, but could not prevent the rebound effort.
“I need to take on more look,” said Nabokov. “(There was) nothing more I could do.”
Nabokov argued his case, but to no avail.
“I know what the ref said and he said (their player) was pushed in,” said McLellan. “They have a tough job to do.”
There was another play where the video clearly showed a Blues player covering the puck in the crease, but there was no call.
Even though they were having trouble pushing a puck across the goal line, the Sharks did not waiver from the battle plan. On the night San Jose outshot St. Louis 44-29.
“Tonight we kept battling and put pucks to the net,” said Heatley.
“Sometimes it doesn’t go in and you’ve got to stick with the plan,” said Nabokov.
QUICK HITDan Boyle
had to briefly leave the contest after taking a shot in the face. He did quickly return and there was no serious damage
“Right in the chin,” said Boyle. “I missed a couple of shifts.”
With 6:21 to go in the second, Jody Shelley and Cam Janssen took part in an extended fight. It was one of the longest fights of the year at HP Pavilion and the crowed was in support of their guy by chanting Jody-Jody as it continued on for close to 90 seconds.
“He is such a team guy,” said Mitchell. “He stepped up and it helped with momentum. Just watching I got out of breath. It’s great to have Jody.”
“Jody stated he is back,” said McLellan.
played in his 100th career NHL game.
The Sharks posted 44 shots on goal marking the fourth time the team has posted 40 or more shots on goal.
BLUES HEAD COACH DAVIS PAYNE
“I tend to think we made some progress tonight. I thought all four lines and all six D and Chris Mason in net played a heck of a hockey game. ”
“You get yourself a lead going into the third and you know you are going to face some pressure, especially against a team like San Jose. The pressure was there and we got ourselves to the overtime session. The scoring chances and flow of that portion of the game was fairly even.”
The Sharks will play Detroit Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. and the game will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.