Forward Devin Setoguchi led all skaters with six shots on goals in Game 1 but still couldn't find the net.
But late Friday night, not only did "Seto" get his first goal of the playoffs but he also scored the game-winner in overtime, maybe the most memorable hockey moment of his young career.
"I scored a couple overtime winners in juniors but nothing since then," Setoguchi said of his goal that sent the noise levels at HP Pavilion through the roof. "Nothing like this. Especially of the way the game was going, there's no better feeling."
The young winger could have scored his first ever playoff hat trick if not for a disallowed goal with less than nine minutes left in the third period.
Coming down the wing, Setoguchi tried to put Ryane Clowe
's rebound back on net before tripping up with Avs goalie Craig Anderson just as the puck trickled past the goal line.
Sharks fans cheered what would've been the game-tying goal but the referee adamantly waved off the goal and instead tacked Setoguchi with a goalie interference penalty stating that Setoguchi made contact with Anderson's head.
"He (the referee) told me that if it had happened to Nabby we'd be all over him," Setoguchi said. "Basically, he told me that there was nothing he could do about it; that there was nothing I could do about it. Rules are rules. I interfered with the goalie."
But that disallowed goal didn't bog Setoguchi nor the Sharks down. They continue to battled with Colorado, eventually tying up the game with 31 seconds left in the third period and going on to win behind Setoguchi's goal at 5:22 in overtime.
"Our focus was to come into overtime re-focused after the three periods and go out there and win the game," the winger said. "We played a great game all night and I knew if we kept going at it, sooner or later we'll get the bounces."
It was an ugly goal to start out an ugly game.
"It wasn't your typical playoff game by any means," Sharks Head Coach McLellan said.
The Colorado Avalanche began Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarter Final exactly how they ended Game 1, with a fluky goal that could not be prepared for.
With the Sharks fans still on their feet from the high of the pregame intro, the Avs quieted the playoff loud home fans scoring just 1:10 minutes into the game with a goal that deflected of defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic
's throat into the net.
"It just seemed that everything that could go wrong did go wrong," said forward Setoguchi. "The puck goes off 'Pickles' and goes it. It goes off the ref's skates and it goes in."
Game 2 featured an array of odd goals and non-goals, but McLellan said he doesn't expect any "pretty" goals from the Sharks and that he expects most if not all goals to be of the ugly variety.
"You never want to go down 0-2," Setoguchi said. "It is a tough hole to climb out of, it can be done, but you never want to do it. Now, we're even. We have a clean slate."
For Scott Nichol, there was pure enjoyment written all over his face Friday night. The 35-year-old had played in just four playoff campaigns and had yet to score his first playoff goal. He fixed that with just 15 seconds remaining in the second period and the Sharks about to head into the final period down a goal.
Nichol, who had be one of the most visible players on the ice all night, stuck one in front in front of the net.
“It was nice,” said Nichol with a big smile. “When Jed got the puck, I knew he was going right on the net.”
Part of the success may have come from being reunited on a line with Jed Ortmeyer and Jamie McGinn.
“It’s nice to have Jed back on the line,” said Nichol. “It’s easy to play with Ginner and Jed.”
“I thought Nichol’s line stepped up and gave us a lot of energy, they brought a lot of other players into the game,” said McLellan.
Evgeni Nabokov was critical in Game 1 for the Sharks to even have a chance late, making key save after key save. After Friday’s game, Nabokov admitted the key saves weren’t there as they were the previous night, but when the overtime game around, he made sure Colorado wouldn’t score.
“Nabby was there when we need him to be and he was good in the overtime and the third,” said Nichol.