Todd McLellan paced the bench like a rabid jackal with Worcester bus tickets in his pocket, the more and more common boos began to rain down from the home crowd and the Sharks‘ goose looked cooked. The feeling moving through the Tank at the futile display before them was that it was happening again…and by it I mean another butt kicking on home ice at the hands of yet another division opponent.
Considering the season’s ups and downs, you could hardly blame them.
After spotting the Phoenix Coyotes a three goal lead late into the second period, the night seemed to be one to feature not the newfound resurgence of the past few games, but rather the earlier season’s attitude of apparent boredom. Another display of barely watchable hockey by the previous titan of the Western Conference.
Not only had they allowed these three unanswered tallies to the Coyotes, but the last one in was off the stick of a Phoenix goon who is better known for his twitter updates than anything remotely relating to the game of ice hockey. Yes, Paul Bissonnette is funny and you should totally follow him, but Paul Bissonnette is just not the guy you want scoring. But, halfway through the second period, there @BizNasty2Point0 was in all his glory, doing his best Paul Kariya impression with a perfect crosscheck-push-off-one-timer…and pumping his fist like a 50 goal scorer.
Disgusting and it was now 3-0 Coyotes.
Sometimes though there’s a man who refuses to lie down, and instead states with full Lebowskian authority that this aggression will not stand…not tonight. Enter Mount Pavelski who did just that, and in doing so sparked a sleeping giant. On the power play at the tail end of the second period, after being shut down and stymied by a lack of breakout passes connecting, neutral zone turnovers and fans in the stands wondering which team was actually on the power play, Joe Pavelski stopped the bleeding. Pavs came up the wing, threw a cross ice pass to the left side and busted it to the front of the net. Dany Heatley corralled the pass off the boards and sent it right back to Pavs, who was now standing two inches in front of Ilya Bryzgalov’s blocker. Pavelski fielded the puck and jammed it past the Phoenix goaltender with eight seconds remaining in the second period.
Yes, there was indeed a pulse thanks to Pavs and the second period closed with the Sharks down 3-1. Wisco!
As the third period opened up, Pavs was at it again. Ryane Clowe came up the right wing and deftly sent a pass to Devin Setoguchi who put the shot right on net. Bryzgalov made the stop, but Pavelski was in perfect position trailing the play to pick up the juicy rebound and put it away bringing the Sharks now within a single goal…and bringing the momentum clearly back to San Jose’s bench.
Just minutes later, the Sharks would complete their improbable comeback with the help of newcomer Kyle Wellwood off a feed from another newbie, Ben Eager. Wellwood knocked Eager’s great dish home and <<boom!>> tie ball game! The Sharks had matched the three unanswered Coyote goals with three of their own, and a miserable game for the home team was beginning to look like an amazing potential comeback in the making.
That feeling got a whole lot stronger when Patrick Marleau stole a puck at his own blue line and outraced the Phoenix defender for a breakaway shorthanded tally to put the Sharks ahead for the first time all night. I would imagine you aren’t shocked about that “outraced” part are you? He really is sick. Would it shock you to hear that Marleau yawned as he proceeded with his breakaway? He might have…the guy either has the best poker face of all time or has had his facial expression nerves severed. Either way, Marleau was at Bonneville Salt Flats kind of full speed in about the time it took the Phoenix guy to drop his stick.
Just whooooooosh followed by a red light. Sharks up 4-3.
Joe Thornton would finish it off with an empty netter late in the third period that caused at least one Phoenix Coyote to break his stick in half. Yeah dude…we’ve been there too. Phoenix had squandered a three goal advantage and let the Sharks score five goals on them in just a little over a period. It was either a great comeback or an awful letdown, depending on your perspective as a fan who rocked the Black and Teal…or one who wore the Purina Dog Chow logo sweaters of the fallen Coyotes. Woof.
I’ll go with great comeback, and think that Sharks’ fans have endured enough of their own frustration to not really care what Phoenix fans are going through right now. But really, it wasn’t just any comeback, but a truly great win against a division opponent who the Sharks might very well see when it matters most in the playoffs. The San Jose Sharks showed themselves that they are never out of a game and that they possess the firepower to pepper opponents silly…when properly motivated.
I think Coach McLellan just hopes that it doesn’t take being down three zip next time to get everyone’s attention.
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Topics: @biznasty2point0, Ben Eager, Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi, Ilya Bryzgalov, Joe Thornton, Kyle Wellwood, Patrick Marleau, Paul Bissonnette, Paul Kariya, Phoenix Coyotes, Ryane Clowe, San Jose Sharks, Todd Mclellan