Another season has come and gone for the San Jose Sharks.
It feels like it was just yesterday that they started the season off with a 4-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks, and now, after a 51-win and 111-point season, the Sharks are ready to take on the Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It was a season with ups-and-downs. A season where fans debated what the lines should be and who the starting goaltender should be.
But I feel that the best way to sum it up is to count down the top 10 moments for Team Teal in the 2013-2014 campaign.
Honorable Mention: Sam Tageson
This is only an honorable mention because I want the top 10 to be strictly highlights, but this can’t be avoided. If you haven’t seen the video yet, watch it right now and you will understand why this was such an important moment in Sharks history.
Number 10: Win It For Dan
After Dan Boyle got hit from behind by Maxim Lapierre and had to be stretchered off the ice, the San Jose Sharks awoke. Couture and Pavelski scored on the ensuing powerplay and the Sharks would go on to beat a very tough St. Louis Blues team by a score of 6-2 in St. Louis.
Number 9: Release The Bracken
Bracken Kearns is 32 years old and has played 31 NHL games in his entire career. Twenty-five of those 31 games came this year with the San Jose Sharks. But in a big game against rival Anaheim, Bracken Kearns finally struck gold, and potted his first ever NHL goal, and just by the way he celebrates, you can tell he has waited a long time for that one. He would then score in the next two straight games, but he hasn’t scored since.
Joe Pavelski has been the best kept secret of Sharks fans up until this year. Only Sharks fans knew the talent that Joe Pavelski had and how great of a player he truly was to have on any hockey team. (Sidebar: Remember when he was in trade rumors for Rick Nash? Bet we’re all happy that didn’t happen….).
Sharks fans also knew the struggle Joe Pavelski had. Pavelski has had so many two-goal games in his career but he has never been able to net the third. Well this year he finally did. Three times. All on the road. So Sharks fans are still waiting to give him the hats he deserves, but he’ll get one at home someday. Maybe next year. Or maybe this postseason….
Number 7: Opening Up The Season
The offseason seems like it took forever, especially after the loss to the LA Kings in the postseason, and when the season finally came, the Tank was rocking. Up until Jason Garrison scored to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead. But five minutes into the second period, Brent Burns scored the first goal of the new season for the San Jose Sharks.
It wasn’t a pretty goal, and it really had no significance other than being the first goal scored in the new season. But what people also forget is that this goal gave rookie sensation Tomas Hertl his first ever NHL point. Little did we know what he would give to us two games later. But I’ll get to that later in the list.
Number 6: Sharks-Kings Shootout
Everybody should remember the first game back in San Jose against the Kings this season. It was a fantastic game. Back and forth chances, a couple of flukey goals, and a fast paced overtime.
So naturally, every hockey fan was probably extremely angry when it went to a shootout. I really do not like the shootout. It’s just a skills competition to figure out who wins. So when this great game went to a shootout, I was upset that it had to end this way. Little did I know the shootout would be just as exciting. Great moves, great saves, a couple almost saves, and of course the thing that makes it all great in the end, a Sharks win.
Number 5: Hertl’s First Goal
In just his second NHL game, Tomas Hertl ignited Sharks fans with a fantastic move just inside a minute into the game against the Phoenix Coyotes with his first NHL goal against Mike Smith, a goaltender the Sharks have had a lot of issues scoring against. Again, people forget about Hertl’s first NHL goal because of what he did the next game.
Number 4: Comeback versus Colorado
This game really summed up the Sharks season perfectly.
It was a back and forth game between the two teams, but the Sharks had a 3-2 lead late in the third period. And then the wheels fell off. Under 2 minutes left, Erik Johnson scored to tie the game for the Avalanche. 12 seconds later, John Mitchell scored to give the Avalanche a 4-3 lead. Sharks fans were angry, confused, and freaking out. How could they blow a game in such a fashion? Enter The Great 8. Joe Pavelski added a highlight to his memorable 2013-2014 campaign with the tying goal with 19 seconds left. The Sharks would then go on to win in a shootout.
Number 3: Pavelski hits 40
In the Sharks 22 year history before this season, only 3 Sharks players (Owen Nolan, Jonathan Cheechoo, Patrick Marleau) have scored 40 goals in a season. This year, the Sharks added a 4th. Joe Pavelski lit the lamp 41 times this season, telling the NHL to take notice because he is a top player in this league. If people don’t believe it this year, they probably never will.
Number 2: Kick Save And A Beauty
In a scoreless 0-0 game in Detroit, the Sharks and Red Wings took it to a shootout where Logan Couture would finally put a puck into the net. It all came down to Todd Bertuzzi. Bertuzzi came in towards the net, saw Niemi go down and decided to elevate the puck to tie the shootout.
But Niemi was one step ahead of him. Niemi lifted his right leg, and made a remarkable pad save against Bertuzzi giving the San Jose Sharks the 1-0 win in a shootout.
Number 1: Hertl Scores 4
Nobody reading this could possibly be surprised by my number one selection. Nineteen-year old Tomas Hertl scored four goals in only his third NHL game against the New York Rangers. But it was his fourth that was the most memorable. If you haven’t seen it, you desperately need to. Not only was it the top Sharks moment of this year, it might be the top Sharks moment that I can remember in my life.
It’s been one heck of a year for the San Jose Sharks and on Thursday they begin their run towards Lord Stanley’s Cup. Go Sharks and Beat LA.