No one could have predicted what happened in Tuesday’s 6-5 Game 3 overtime win against Los Angeles. However, there was an ominous sign presented to the man who scored the game winning goal.
“As I walked in the room today the history will be made commercial was on with the Kings down 5-0,” Devin Setoguchi said. “They came back and won 6-5. It was ironic that we came back from 4-0 nothing tonight.”
It marked just the fourth time in NHL history a club had come from down four goals to win a Stanley Cup Playoff game.
“This is a game that you don’t expect to happen,” Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan said. “I don’t think it’ll repeat itself. It’s something we have to understand that we were very fortunate to have come back from that deficit. We’re excited about it, but we also know the mulligan that we used tonight won’t be available to us again.”
After surrendering eight straight goals to Los Angeles over two games, the Sharks finally found their magic touch and pressed forward until the game-winner was found. The five goals were the most every scored by San Jose in a playoff period.
“We had nothing to lose,” McLellan said. “We could have left here at seven to nothing and still lost the game and we’d be down one. So we started to play loose, we started to roll lines a little bit more, we were better on our line changes, we got pucks in behind them. It started to go in our favor. You could feel it a little bit on the bench. The more we did it, the more we believed it could happen.”
The heart of the Sharks lockerroom proved to be bigger than even the biggest Sharks fan could have imagined.
“Sometimes that’s when it would have been easy to fold the tent,” Ryane Clowe
said. “We hadn’t scored the last game and we just wanted to get that goal. Once we got that one, momentum is a strong thing. Finally our power play scored and that was big.”
“We were down and out and showed a lot of heart,” Dan Boyle
“There’s no quit,” Joe Pavelski
said. “I think at the start of this game, it shouldn’t have been 3-0. We felt our power play was better, our PK was better. It just didn’t happen for us. We stayed with it.”
During the first intermission when the club was down three, McLellan had a calm tone about him as he addressed his team.
“He left it up the players and talked about not giving up and getting that first goal,” Boyle said. “The first goal got us the second one and so on.”
“It was all positive. We felt good about our game, as good as you could feel down 3-0,” Clowe said. “Some guys spoke up. Even when Todd came in it was positive.”
The first goal was clearly the ice breaker and was something for the Sharks to build on.
“The first one is huge, not getting one by him the last game,” Ian White said. “The first goal kind of breaks the seal and you could sense the shift in momentum. Fortunately we kept the foot on the gas.”
After scoring three unanswered, the Kings popped one in to make it 5-3, but the Shark refused to let the goal take the wind out of their sails.
“When they scored and got their fourth we responded. When we scored four-on-four and they came right back and made it 5-3 (we responded). I think a couple of times in the game, it would have been easy for a team to pack it in and hang their heads a little bit,” Clowe said.
As for the game-winner, Setoguchi’s name will go down in Sharks lore, but he deferred much of the credit to his linemates.
“Patty made the whole thing work,” Setoguchi said. “He got the puck up on the wall, beat the guy, pushed it forward. Jumbo drove the middle and backed the D right off. Patty made a great pass right on my tape and I got it off as fast I could.”
There were plenty of smiles floating around following the historic win as the magnitude of the comeback began to settle in.
“It was fun,” Pavelski acknowledged. “You see games like this every once in a while where pucks are going in and teams get going. It happens.”
Just not very often, say four times in the entire history of the NHL.
White found his way to a couple of helpers in his return and has now set up a goal in both his NHL playoff games and is personally undefeated as well.
“I felt all right,” White said. “I was a little rusty and had couple of errors, but everybody else rallied around me. When you win, the errors don’t look so bad.”
Following the Kings fourth goal, McLellan swapped out Antti Niemi
for Antero Niittymaki and the move paid immediate dividends.
“You’ve got to give Niitty credit,” Boyle said. “He came in and relieved us and made some big saves. He deserves some credit too.”
KINGS HEAD COACH TERRY MURRAY
“That’s as bad as it gets in the second period for sure. They scored a power-play goal. They are a very good team on the power play. They have been all year long and I know they’ve been spending time on their couple of days off here working on it and they executed it and got a power-play goal there in the second period. But outside of that we did this to ourselves with our puck management and whatever you want to call it. Turnovers, not getting it in when you’re supposed to get it in deep, and trying to do way too much we get caught out for extended shifts. There are guys out there in the second period for two and a half minutes where we couldn’t get a line change especially with our defensemen. So you’re exhausted, you’re getting rattled, you start doing things that are very odd characteristic obviously and now they’re playing the game they want.”
(Regarding aggressiveness after 4-0): “They scored in the early part of the second period and probably three minutes later they score again. Now it’s a power play after that seven minutes later. That’s fine, but the little things are starting to show and they identified it and they countered on us, they played extended shifts in our end, and they kicked the door wide open.”
(Regarding changing goalies): “No, I wasn’t thinking about changing goalies. The goals are far apart. The two at the end of the period are the only ones that are close. They scored on a power play in there, we come right back, and then they get a 5-3 game. We have plenty of TV time to talk about the stuff I just talked about with you right now. The attention was there but we for some reason refused to do what we were supposed to do.”
KINGS FORWARD DUSTIN BROWN
“We had a good first but it’s the playoffs and we didn’t do the things that made us successful in the first two games and the first period, we needed to get the puck deep and just move the puck and we made some good plays but a lot of that was the result of not getting the puck deep. So we only have ourselves to blame.”
(Regarding defensive breakdowns): “[It was] puck management…we needed to get the puck deep on them. They’re a fast offensive team and we gave them chances and plays, they could find lanes and open areas to get some goals, and that’s kind of what happened with the overtime goal. They transitioned it from their end, and it was pretty quick. Like I said, they have good forwards.”
KINGS DEFENSEMAN MATT GREENE
(Re what went wrong with defense in second period): “Just had some breakdowns. Took our foot off the gas pedal there. They made us pay, and that’s it.”
(Re getting past the loss): “It stings right now. We got to let it go though right away. You give yourself tonight, you feel bad about it, but tomorrow’s a new day. And it would have been the same way if we’d won 4-0 still; you would have given yourself tonight to feel good about it but then tomorrow’s a new day. We’ve got another game on Thursday and we have to try to get back and this series tied up.”
Game 4 will be Thursday night in Los Angeles at 7:30 and the game will be on CSN California, 98.5/102.1 FM and www.sjsharks.com.