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WCQF Game 7: Hockey Miracle
Sharks erase 3-goal deficit in 3rd period, win in OT
4/23/19 - By Mike Lee -

There are hockey games, and there are epic hockey games. The Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights played in the latter variety on Tuesday night at SAP Center, in what may regarded as the greatest comeback in San Jose playoff history. Trailing 3-0 in the 3rd period of Game 7 of the Western Conference Quarter Finals match up, San Jose did the improbable after captain Joe Pavelski was knocked out of the game with a cross check to the head. The Sharks scored four goals during a 5-minute major penalty to grab the lead, then converted in overtime to take the series.

The Sharks pulled off the improbable trailing by those three goals with 10:47 to play. Then Cody Eakin lit a fire under the Sharks after his crosscheck felled Pavelski, who landed awkwardly, hitting his head on the ice. With pulling spilling on the ice, the Sharks captain was out-cold on the ice. His motionless body cast a dark silence over the sellout crowd, as trainers rushed to his aid.

After a few moments on the ice, Pavelski was helped to the locker room, with wobbling legs. What happened next was an exhibition of will and motivation. Eakin was given the major penalty and a game misconduct, which ended his season.

The Sharks proceeded to avenge their captain and went on a goal scoring tear.

Logan Couture started the goal parade with a shot from the left dot at 9:20. Kevin Labanc drew the four Vegas defenders over to the right side before sending a pass through the slot to Couture on the off wing. That woke up the sellout crowd, and seemed to lift the Sharks even further.

The power play continued until Erik Karlsson sent a shot to the front of the net, before it was tipped by Tomas Hertl. The deflection adjusted the angle enough to get it passed Marc-Andre Fleury to make it a 3-2 game. The goal came 49 seconds after Couture's goal, which left 4:04 on the penalty.

William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault could have changed things considerably when they found themselves on a 2-on-1 break, but Karlsson's shot sailed wide left of the Sharks net.

Couture tied the game at 12:53 when he took a cross ice feed from Brent Burns, then walked the puck to the top of the left circle and ripped a shot that beat Fleury. The Knights goaltender was screened on the shot, which found the bottom left corner of the net. Rather than skate past his bench and high-five his teammates, Couture skated over to the bench and hurled himself into the arms of the a celebrating flurry of teal jerseys.

With a full minute left on the power play, Kevin Labanc almost blew the roof off the building when he scored at 13:21. The winger gathered a Timo Meier feed at the right point then raced toward the net and snapped a wrist shot that tucked inside the left post.

San Jose had completed the impossible by scoring 4 goals in 4 minutes and a second to not only erase the Knights lead, but to take the lead. San Jose then went into clock killing mode with 6:39 still left in regulation.

Labanc complicated things when he was called for hooking with 3:41 left in the period. The Knights would not convert on the man-advantage, but Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant elected to pull Fleury in the waning moments of the power play.

With his top line on the ice, Gallant generated some extra rest during a stoppage when he sent a trainer across the ice to the visiting player's entrance. Halfway to the gate, the trainer dropped several items on the ice, delaying things further. Already ridiculous, the trainer put an exclamation point on the gamesmanship when he stopped 5 feet from the door, then turned to the officials down ice and gave a thumbs up to squeeze even more rest in the stoppage.

With their rested 6 skaters on the ice, Vegas scored the equalizer with 47 seconds left in regulation. Riley Smith sent a quick pass out to Marchessault from behind the Sharks goal for a one-time chance that slipped past Martin Jones to knot the game at 4-4.

The Sharks had come so close to finishing off the Knights, but this one was headed to overtime.

Both teams took either a cautious or exhausted approach to the overtime session. San Jose out-shot the Knights 14-9 in the extra frame, but it was one Barclay Goodrow who ended things.

The Sharks forward took an Erik Karlsson feed up the right wing, racing around Brayden McNabb before cutting across the top of the crease and sliding the puck around Fleury's right leg pad for the game winner.

It was pure mayhem when Goodrow's shot found the back of the net. The Sharks mobbed the 4th liner along the glass in front of the penalty boxes.

The Knights stood in disbelief, having blown a 3-goal lead. Goals by William Karlsson, Eakin and Max Pacioretty had given the Knights what appeared to be an insurmountable lead.

The Sharks didn't care. They had completed one of the greatest feats in NHL hockey. They celebrated, then lined up to shake the hands of their defeated opposition. Everyone except Pavelski, who was being tended to somewhere in the bowels of SAP Center.

Game Notes:

* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Sharks are only the second team in NHL history to score 4 power play goals in under a 5-minute span. The St Louis Blues did it against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 3 of their 1998 Quarter Finals series.

* San Jose became one of four teams to overcome a 3-goal deficit in a Game 7. They join the Washington Capitals (1988 Quarter Finals), Edmonton Oilers (1991 Quarter Finals), and Philadelphia Flyers (2010 Conference Semi Finals)

* Not to overshadow things, but the Sharks overcame a 3-1 deficit, winning three straight games to advance to the Western Conference Semi Finals. They became the 29th team in NHL history to overcome a 3-1 deficit. It was the first time San Jose overcame a 3-1 deficit in games during the playoffs.

* Barclay Goodrow's goal was reminiscent of Ray Whitney's goal in 1995, which also came in a Game 7 after regulation had expired. Whitney scored in double-overtime to beat the Calgary Flames.

* Kevin Labanc's 4 points in the 3rd period marked the first time a Shark scored that many points in a period during the playoffs. Jeremy Roenick scored 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in Game 7 of the Sharks 2008 Quarter Finals win over Calgary.


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1 2 3 OT T
VGK 1 1 2 0 4
SJ 0 0 4 1 5
1st period - 1, VGK, Karlsson, 2 (Marchessault, Smith), 10:10.
2nd period - 2, VGK, Eakin 2 (McNabb, Theodore), 10:00.
3rd period - 3, VGK, Pacioretty 5 (Stone), 3:36. 4, SJ, Couture 5 (Labanc, Hertl), 9:20, (pp). 5, SJ, Hertl 6 (E. Karlsson, Labanc), 10:09, (pp). 6, SJ, Couture 6 (Burns, Labanc), 12:53, (pp). 7, SJ, Labanc 2 (Meier), 13:21, (pp). 8, VGK, Marchessault 4 (Smith, Stone), 19:13.
Overtime - 9, SJ, Goodrow 2 (E. Karlsson, Sorensen), 18:19.
1st period - Miller, VGK (hooking), 1:56; McNabb, VGK (cross checking), 4:15; E. Karlsson, SJ (tripping), 12:36; Tuch, VGK (interference), 13:26.
2nd period - Reaves, VGK (tripping), 6:22.
3rd period - Eakin, VGK (cross checking major), 9:13; Eakin, VGK (game misconduct), 9:13; Labanc, SJ (hooking), 16:19.
Overtime - None.
Shots Saves
VGK - Fleury 48 43
SJ - Jones 38 34
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
VGK 4 10 15 9 38
SJ 11 9 14 14 48
Power Play Conversion
VGK 0 of 2
SJ 4 of 9
3 Stars of the Game
Kevin Labanc
Logan Couture
Tomas Hertl
SAP Center - 17,562
Referees: Furlatt, O'Halloran. Linesmen: Cormier, Murphy.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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