Throughout the next ten days we’ll be looking back at the ten best 2016 Stanley Cup playoff moments for the San Jose Sharks.
10. Joe Pavelski’s Game 2 Winner Vs. Nashville
The talk prior to the playoffs and during the early part of the San Jose Sharks run to the Stanley Cup Final was if team teal could fight off its past playoff demons.
Joe Pavelski’s late goal against the Nashville Predators in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals forced fans and experts around the league to realize this Sharks team was a serious Cup contender, cancelling out that “playoff demon” talk.
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With Nashville dominating the shot total all night, the Sharks should have felt very fortunate heading into the final period up 1-0 on Logan Couture’s goal.
When Mattias Ekholm tied the score at one with just over seven minutes remaining, the Sharks could have given in, and there was no reason the Predators’s momentum would halt at that moment. But the Sharks locked in mentally and allowed just two shots in the next seven minutes of the game.
That defensive pressure and focus eventually lead to Pavelski’s goal 17:20 into the period. It was not the easiest goal by any means and required an alert Pavelski to get the puck in the back of the net before a diving Shea Weber arrived at his feet. Joe Thornton added an empty-netter before Ryan Johansen scored with four seconds left as San Jose wound up winning 3-2.
The goal gave the captain six for the playoffs after only seven games. He would finish the playoffs with 14 goals, a franchise playoff record, in 24 games. The late tally would only add to Pavelski’s moniker of “Captain Clutch” as he came through at the biggest moments for team teal.
The goal only added to the impressive start to the postseason campaign for the Sharks as they would win six of their first seven playoff contests to begin their run to the Stanley Cup Final.
The victory gave the Sharks a 2-0 lead in the series, and San Jose became the clear favorite to reach the Western Conference finals, even though Nashville would claw back and push the series to seven games.
When the final horn sounded in Game 2, fans at the SAP Center went home thinking this Sharks team may have been different from previous ones, and as we found out they would have been right.