It was a crazy night for Sharks fans. First, they saw their club jump out to a 4-1 lead, and then Colorado tied things at five apiece. That just fueled the entertainment value when Team Teal found a way to come out on top with a 6-5 victory. Plus, the victory moved them to within two points of a playoff spot.
The game-winning goal came courtesy of Alyn McCauley, but the play began with Kyle McLaren keeping the puck in the zone and shooting it on net. The rebound came to McCauley who fired the shot with Ville Nieminen creating traffic in front.
“The last 12 games, I probably would have hit the goalies pads or Ville’s leg,” laughed McCauley. “Ville kept his legs open enough for me to shoot through.”
The play all started with McLaren at the point doing what the coaching staff was looking for.
“We try to keep it in as much as we can,” said McLaren. “We got fortunate the puck bounced the right way. You have to give a lot of credit to the forwards.”
The game-winner aside, the Sharks fought through adversity and came out on top. Still they would rather the game not have been as close as it was.
“It was huge to be able to respond to the adversity,” said Ron Wilson. “It was a great for our confidence to win. We were close to blowing it open if we had made it 5-1 on the power play. It was a character win.”
“I think we relaxed a little and with a team like that, it can be dangerous,” said McCauley. “We should have kept our noses down.”
Sharks rookie right wing set up Patrick Marleau
’s goal with a spectacular between the legs pass.
“It was the first time I tried it,” said Bernier. “It worked tonight, but I won’t try it every night. I knew Patty was right there. It was nice that it worked out, but if it doesn’t, it’s not a good play. It was a lucky play. I hope the luck stays with me.”
Wilson took some enjoyment out of the move moments earlier.
“The best play was Milan taking the hit and making the first pass,” said Wilson. “We always tell our players never to go for the big hit when we’re a man down. If you play the puck, there is no chance to do was Steve did.”
Evgeni Nabokov earned his first win since prior to the Olympic break.
“The most important part is we got the win,” said Nabokov. “Sometimes wins are ugly and this was one of them.”
With Toskala’s recent run of success, Nabokov hasn’t had many starts.
“It took five to 10 minutes, but after that I felt pretty good,” said Nabokov.
Wilson also felt good about the performance.
“He was a little rusty, but he made the big saves late,” said Wilson.
MAURICE WILL HAVE TO WAIT
With the Colorado’s net empty and the puck on his stick, Jonathan Cheechoo had an opportunity to fire a puck down the ice for an easy goal in his race for the Maurice Richard Trophy, annually presented to the NHL’s top goal scorer.
While he may have had the shooter’s confidence to make the play, he took the safe route and sent the puck in deep, but not deep enough to risk an icing call.
“That’s the kind of goal you can’t risk scoring,” said Cheechoo. “I just sent it down the ice in a safe fashion. The win is more important.”
The Sharks will embark on a five-game road trip on Monday, with the first game coming in St. Louis on Tuesday at 5:00 p.m.
“The playoffs will come down to how well we play on the road,” said McCauley. “This is a good test for us. Every team we face will be a test.”
The entire road trip will be difficult, but if they get ahead of themselves, the Sharks will get into trouble.
“We’ll take it one game at a time,” said Nabokov. “St. Louis is the next game and that is what we’ll worry about. We won’t be able to score five or six on the road, so we will need to play better defense.”
“We need to keep it simple,” said McLaren. “Winning ugly is still two points.
With his goal in the first period, Tom Preissing now has 25 (8-17= 25) points in his last 41 games. Joe Thornton
’s assist in the second period extended his point streak to seven games. He has two goals and 11 assists during the streak.
With two goals on Sunday, and 31 on the season, Patrick Marleau
continues to set new career highs in goals and surpassed the 30-goal mark in a season for the first time in his career. He has now scored 401 points in his career and is second in franchise history.
Milan Michalek picked up two assists and now has seven multi-point games on the season.
With two assists, Marcel Goc registered his second multi-point game of the season
The Sharks picked up 11 of a possible 12 points in the standings during a season long six-game homestand, marking the most successful six-game homestand in franchise history.