No doubt about it, the Sharks come from behind victory against the Philadelphia Flyers Wednesday night was one of the most dramatic finishes in the franchise’s regular season history. It marked only the fourth time San Jose had overcome a three-goal deficit and the first time they had done so in the third period.
(The other three times were March 28, 1995 vs. Winnipeg where the Sharks trailed 4-1 and won 6-5 in overtime; Jan. 13, 1996 at Pittsburgh when they trailed 5-2 and won 10-8; and Jan, 4, 2007 vs. Detroit where they trailed 3-0 and won 9-4.)
In addition the comeback, there was the drama of the waived-off goal that Philadelphia thought won the game with no time left on the clock. Instead, the replay clearly showed the puck wasn’t over the line as time expired.
Definitely one for the ages.
“Last night we didn’t start well again, but we had the one-goal lead,” Joe Pavelski
said. “In the (second intermission), there was talk of ‘let’s turn this around.’ They’re not playing any better than we are and we can turn it up a little bit.
To move things in the right direction, the Sharks had to extend their game a bit.
“You know you have to press a little bit,” Pavelski said. “The first thought was get one by the 10-minute mark or before the next (TV) timeout and give ourselves a chance. We get that one and it just sparks you a little bit. It’s a two-goal game and momentum shifts. You get another one and there’s plenty of time left. You get that little bit of a spark and we found it.”
Pavelski scored a critical power play goal which meant anything goes.
“Then it’s about finishing it off,” Pavelski said about not wanting to waste the comeback effort. “You score three goals and you feel like you can score three more. Our penalty kill made a big kill for us late.”
As the overtime period wound to a close, it seemed as if Philadelphia had eked out a win as they sent a puck behind Antero Niittymaki. The horn sounded, the crowd was jumping, but when the play went to the video goal judge, it was correctly ruled the puck didn’t cross the line before the clock struck zero. No one on the bench knew for sure that’s how it would play out, though.
“I think everyone on the bench knew there was a chance it went in, but you realize the timing is off a lot of times on those things,” Pavelski said. We just wanted to be patient and hopefully it would get overturned and that’s what happened. We really didn’t know, but Woody (Assistant Coach Jay Woodcroft) took a look at it and he was back on the bench saying it shouldn’t be a goal. So we knew we were going to get ready for the shootout and we were still watching them celebrate.”
Even with a staff member’s confidence, that doesn’t always mean that’s how it will play out with the official ruling.
“You never know, the same thing happened when JMac (John McCarthy) scored his goal and we thought that was a good goal,” Pavelski said. “You never quite know what’s going to happen.”
The final ruling was another shot of confidence for the Sharks.
“It gave us a little more confidence, a little bit more energy,” Pavelski said.
Then, San Jose used the shootout to secure the victory.
“(When you’re out east) you don’t see the goalies and they don’t know your moves,” Pavelski said. “We were looking down the bench to see if Bouch and Shelley (former Sharks Brian Boucher and Jody Shelley) were going to tell him the moves we like.”
Now the Sharks have a chance to turn a good road trip into a great one if they can find two points against Buffalo on Thursday. Head Coach Todd McLellan let his guys have the necessary rest in the morning and then they’ll try to earn their eighth point of the trek.
“We played a really good game in Ottawa. We had chances in Montreal, but it didn’t work out for us,” Pavelski said. “By no means have we been perfect on this road trip, but we’ve found ways. Hopefully we can build on that and get our legs going. Tonight is a big game for us, it’s back-to-back and we’ll keep our shifts short try to get two big points.”
The game against Buffalo today at 4 p.m. will be televised thanks to some late heroics from CSN California. Television Color Analyst Drew Remenda had a prior commitment so Jamie Baker will be working with Randy Hahn. On radio, Dan Rusanowsky will work with a scratched player, but will still have help from Baker during the pregame.
The Buffalo contest will begin at 4 p.m. and will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.