The fun began with 5:43 remaining in the second period of Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals between San Jose and Calgary.
With the Sharks up 1-0, Flames left wing Kristian Huselius was called for hooking. Huselius was the one who drew a first period penalty in Game One on defenseman Kyle McLaren that resulted in a power play goal, even though McLaren’s stick never reach above the shoulders.
Then, nearly a minute later at 4:51, Flames center Stephane Yelle went to the penalty box for cross checking. So instead of a 5-on-4 power play, the Sharks had a two-man advantage.
The situation got more complicated for Calgary when defenseman Jim Vandermeer
got called for slashing at 4:27. Over the next minute, the Sharks put four shots on Miikka Kiprusoff and, after center Joe Thornton
’s snap shot was stopped by Kiprusoff, San Jose called time out.
“There was a lot of pressure on us to score a goal,” forward Torrey Mitchell
said. “Especially when we had those power plays in a row. The fans were getting into it and guys might try to force and jam pucks (to make plays).”
So what did Coach Ron Wilson tell his team?
“Just to calm down and relax,” Mitchell said. “Try not to force pucks and make plays.”
A little over a minute after the time out, the 5-on-3 became a 5-on-4. Following that time out, the Sharks put four shots on goal – two by Mitchell. With 1:51 left in the period, Mitchell got his second shot as he saw a loose puck in front of an open net and scored his first Stanley Cup Playoff goal to give San Jose a 2-0 lead, which was the final score.
Mitchell’s reaction when seeing an open net and the loose puck was pretty simple: “I was excited.”
In total, the long power play lasted 3:52. The Sharks got 11 of their club postseason record 27 second period shots on goal in that stretch. Persistence and pressure was necessary to beat Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.
“It was getting a little frustrating,” Mitchell said. “We had a string of power plays and needed to get at least one goal. It almost seemed like a relief. It was nice to get that goal.”
“We stuck with it. We had some good chances,” Thornton said. “It was just good hard work to make some penalties.”
“We moved the puck around really well,” defenseman Craig Rivet said. “Anytime you can get on the power play and get opportunites to score, it really sets the other team back on its heels. We did that tonight.”
THERE’S MORE THAN ONE JOE
Over the last two months, the attention on the Sharks has been on goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, Thornton and defenseman Brian Campbell.
Rightfully so, but the man who scored the first goal in Game Two deserves some time in the spotlight.
Center Joe Pavelski
, who got San Jose’s first goal at 4:56 of the second period, set career highs with 19 goals and 21 assists during the regular season. He was one of four Sharks to play in all 82 games in 2007-08.
Pavelski played very well in the 20 games following the trade deadline, a stretch that saw San Jose win 16 games and earn 34 of a possible 40 points. He was the team’s fourth-best scorer with 18 points on seven goals and 11 assists.
“I didn’t finish last year the way I wanted,” he said. Pavelski appeared in just six postseason games in 2006-07 and had a goal. “I’ve got more of a chance and a role this year.”
Pavelski has been through the postseason at various levels of his playing career. He won the 2006 NCAA Championship at the University of Wisconsin. Pavelski won a Junior A Championship with Waterloo of the United States Hockey League in 2004. And in youth hockey, his Midget 16AAA team won the National Championship.
“One of the big things on those teams was that we had a lot of character, great goaltending and some timely goals,” Pavelski said. “That’s what wins championships and a lot of that is in this room now.”
GAME 5 TICKETS
The San Jose Sharks announced today that tickets for Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals to be played on Thursday, April 17 at 7:00PM at HP Pavilion at San Jose will go on sale to the general public on Monday, April at 10 a.m. Due to the limited number of tickets available, individuals will be allowed to purchase up to two tickets.
Tickets are available at the HP PAVILION TICKET OFFICE, online at TICKETMASTER.COM, ALL TICKETMASTER TICKET CENTERS (including select Rite Aid and f.y.e stores), and CHARGE BY PHONE at 408/998-TIXS & 415/421-TIXS.
The HP Pavilion Ticket Office will be utilizing the pre-numbered wristband system for all purchases. Wristbands will be handed out from 8-9 a.m. The drawing to determine the numbered wristband, which becomes “first” in line, will take place at 9:30 a.m.
The HP Pavilion Ticket Office’s pre-numbered wristband system is designed for determining a guest’s position in the ticket line. This system is implemented for all high-demand and advance ticket sales at HP Pavilion. The use of these wristbands provides an orderly and fair method to give all guests an equal opportunity to obtain seats.
Pricing for playoff tickets is as follows:
Prices For Round 1:
Glass - $185
Sideline Club - $136
End / Corner Club - $126
Premium Lower - $101
Lower Reserved - $88
Upper Rim - $93
Sideline Upper (Rows 2-12) - $62
Upper Goalie View (Rows 2-12) - $54
Sideline Upper (Rows 13+) - $44
Upper Goalie View (Rows 13+) - $31
The Sharks and Calgary will play Game 3 Sunday night at 7 p.m. in Alberta and the game will be available on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.