There was a lot of satisfaction for the Sharks in their 2-1 overtime win against Colorado Tuesday night. First and foremost, the Sharks evened their best of seven series at two and have retaken home ice advantage.
“We were happy for two minutes, but 30 seconds after we got back in here, it’s 2-2,” said Boyle. “Not to be a party pooper, but all we did was tie up the series. Tomorrow we’ve got to get back to work.”
What started as a best of seven is now down to three possible games.
“It’s a best of three now,” said Boyle.
Had another bad bounce gone Colorado’s way, the Sharks could have been down 3-1, but they refused to let that happen.
“It was a game we really wanted, to go down 3-1, that is a really tough hole,” said Pavelski. “To be 2-2 now, were going back home and hopefully we’ll get off to another good start.”
“Had we not won, the task would have been that much harder and that much narrower,” said McLellan.
EXPECTED AND UNEXPECTED ON THE WINNER
In both Sharks wins this series, a clutch goal was scored by U.S. Olympian Joe Pavelski
. Pavelski scored the goal that pushed Game 2 to overtime and then Tuesday night struck for the overtime winner in Game 4.
“That was an NHL goal and an NHL shot,” said Boyle.
“The line has been very good for us, Pavs, Seto and Clowe,” said McLellan. “It’s rewarding because last year they took a lot of heat because we didn’t have secondary scoring. They are certainly providing it this year. Scoring big goals and playing well at the other end of the rink.”
The reason Pavelski was able to close the game out was Douglas Murray
was forcing the issue.
“How about Dougie Murray getting up the ice,” said Boyle. “He’s been working hard all series. It’s a simple play where he goes to the net and Pavs finishes it.”
“Dougie is a big man and he went right at them and I saw him,” said Pavelski. “I saw the puck pop up in the air and was praying it would there. It did and I was able to pull it and get a little space and got the puck on its way.”
When the puck landed in the right spot, Pavelski quickly thought things through and worked with what was in front of him.
“Foote is a big man and I believe he was a front me,” said Pavelski. “I was using him for a screen and hoping it didn’t shut down (the angle). I was trying to shoot for (the corner) and hoping he (Craig Anderson) didn’t see it.”
The feeling when the puck hit the back of the net was what players play for.
“It’s really exciting, just overwhelming at the time,” said Pavelski.
Murray, one of the NHL’s best stay at home defensemen, was pleased to take part in such an important offensive play.
“I just tried to push the pile and it popped out to Pavs and he took care of business,” said Murray. “I’ve been a little frustrated because I haven’t been involved enough (with the physical play) impact. It’s been physical, but it’s been mostly on the forecheck. I’ve been trying to not get out of what I’m supposed to do. It was nice to contribute to the win tonight.”
“I thought he was jumping in the play, he had a couple of good plays where he stepped up,” said Scott Nichol. “It’s good to see him get a little bit of the accolades.”
There was a strong level of redemption for San Jose’s Dan Boyle
who was personally shouldering a lot of feelings following Game 3. Boyle took charge as San Jose earned a power play in the game’s opening minute and gave the Sharks their first lead of the series during regulation with a laser of a slapshot.
“It was good to see Dan Boyle
score right off the bat,” said McLellan. “That put Game 3 to rest.”
“It definitely felt good, I’m not going to lie, but until we win the series, it’s never going to be completely over,” said Boyle. “The only thing that matters is winning the series, then I can officially turn the page.”
The Sharks bench was a little extra excited to see Boyle make such a major play early, but definitely not surprised.
“I think coach said it best, he is an elite competitor and you know he is going to compete like he has all year,” said Pavelski. “You could see he wanted that puck right away. He grabbed it and fired it and found a way in. It was a great shot. That is what we expect out of him. He is one of our leaders and he stepped up for us tonight.”
Boyle said the power play unit as a whole was doing their job and just like in Game 2, if they had not succeeded, there may not have been a need for overtime.
“There was traffic in front and I don’t know if he (Craig Anderson) saw that,” said Boyle. “They did their job and it was a big power play goal which we didn’t have last game.”
In any one goal win, the winning club can look back at several key saves made by their netminder and Evgeni Nabokov may have played his best game of the series in Game 4. Colorado posted 34 shots and there was a lot of quality in the mix. Whether it was his save near the end of the third period or his big stop in overtime, Nabokov earned the right to be the winning goalie.
“He made a huge save in overtime there and caught it under his arm and there was no rebound,” said Nichol. “We have all the confidence in Nabby. He’s our rock back there, so it was good to see him make a couple of big saves and he’s been doing that all year.”
“When Nabby made the big save in overtime, that helped us mentally,” said McLellan. “Nabby made some very big saves and you could feel our bench settle down. It was really important that Nabby performed the way he did tonight. He really stood in and did what he’s supposed to do.”
The save late in the third allowed the series to see its third consecutive overtime.
“It was a bit of a mad scramble and he was right there,” said Nichol. “He makes the first saves, the second saves. You’re going to go far in the playoffs with a good goalie.”
Three games have now gone to overtime and the one that didn’t was tied after 59 minutes of action. Things could not be much tighter.
“These wins aren’t coming easy for either side,” said Boyle. “Both teams are fighting it. It was a tough game a tough grind tonight.”
“Both teams are playing really hard,” said McLellan. “It’s fierce hockey in the corners and along the boards and net front.”
The bonus time has even made Boyle, who sometimes seems like he could skate all night, feel a bit winded.
“I keep hearing about this altitude stuff and I had never felt it until tonight,” said Boyle. “I was sucking some wind a little bit tonight. Both teams are feeling it and that’s why all those early practices where you skate hard, it’s why you do it.”
In the third, McLellan had Torrey Mitchell
skating with Joe Thornton
and Patrick Marleau
and Dany Heatley alongside Manny Malhotra and Logan Couture
. He was also double shifting Marleau with the fourth line.
“Dany Heatley returning was something we were all excited about, but he hadn’t skated since our last game and I think it showed a little bit,” said McLellan. “He didn’t have the jump in his legs he needed to. So we had to shuffle the lines around to spread out our speed and when we did that we kind of got rolling a little bit more.”
Game 5 will take placed at HP Pavilion Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and a limited amount of tickets will be release at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com at 1 p.m. on Thursday. The game will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.