The San Jose Sharks continued their most important road trip of the season Wednesday night when they battled the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. It was déjà vu all over again, as just like he did in the 2003-04 Western Division Semifinals against Colorado, Marcel Goc notched the game-winning goal, propelling the Shark to their second consecutive road victory.
It would be an understatement to say that Goc was in a bit of a scoring slump. The rookie’s last goal was on November 26 in a 7-6 loss at HP Pavilion at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings.
Goc’s ninth goal of the season came just under three minutes into the third period. The tally was enough to best the Avalanche on their home ice.
“I was standing in front of the net hoping the puck would get to me and it did,” said Goc. “We needed that win because we have to get all the points we can during this final stretch.”
For the rookie centerman, tonight’s goal got the big monkey off his back.
“I’m pretty happy it got in for me,” he said. “Now hopefully there will be more to come.”
More importantly than the personal feat of Goc scoring his goal Wednesday was the effect it had on the team and the playoff race. The Sharks victory gave the squad 87 points, boosting them into the eighth spot, just one point behind the idle Edmonton Oilers for seventh place and three points behind Colorado for sixth.
“It’s a positive sign when you’re able to play well in buildings like Dallas and Colorado,” said Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson.
In the 2-1 victory, Vesa Toskala earned his second consecutive road victory, stopping 25 of 26 shots and continuing his stellar play over the last few months.
“Vesa’s just steady,” said Wilson. “He wasn’t tested a whole lot after the first, but I thought he played well.”
Now for Team Teal will be the Los Angeles Kings in another crucial game. The Sharks look to carry the success they’ve had against their Pacific Division Rivals this season. San Jose has won five of six games against Los Angeles this year.
Wednesday’s game was a special one for one particular rookie in the Sharks lineup. Matt Carle, who is enjoying his second week with the Sharks, returned to his old stomping grounds Wednesday night at Colorado. The former University of Denver standout had the opportunity to play in front of some very important people.
“The whole DU team, a bunch of college friends, some family and my girlfriend were all able to come to the game tonight,” said Carle. “It was great to play in front of them and it was especially nice to get the win.”
Although it has only been a few weeks since Carle left Denver to start his NHL career in San Jose, he didn’t pass up the opportunity to catch up with some friends.
“Just being able to see them all again and hanging out with them made this trip that much more special.”
Wednesday’s game was the first game outside of California this season in which the Sharks won and Patrick Marleau
did not register a point.