Dan's View from Center Ice - 5/17/2013

Friday, 05.17.2013 / 3:28 PM
By Dan Rusanowsky - Sharks Radio, Play-by-Play Broadcaster / The Daily Chomp
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Dan\'s View from Center Ice - 5\/17\/2013

The San Jose Sharks have run smack into the path of playoff adversity, and the circumstances by which it has arrived have been exceedingly uncomfortable for players, coaches, and the fan faithful.

There will be those who wish to abandon ship. There will be those who wish to crawl into the fetal position in a corner of a room, or who prefer to engage in an endless session of hand-wringing, assuming that the worst is here. There are no such characters inside the San Jose Sharks’ dressing room.

In a sense, Game 2 was a case of the hockey gods giving one back to the Kings, in a returned favor from an even more unlikely Sharks playoff comeback at the Staples Center just two short years earlier.

It was Tuesday, April 19, 2011, and it was another playoff game between the Sharks and the Kings. Los Angeles had just won the previous game in the series, 4-0, with Jonathan Quick picking up the shutout. Unlike this season, it was Game 3 of the best-of-seven playoff series, but it was also at the Staples Center, since L.A. didn’t have home ice advantage.

Los Angeles jumped out to a 4-0 lead, on goals by Willie Mitchell, Kyle Clifford, Michal Handzus, and Brad Richardson. At the 0:44 mark of the second period, Antti Niemi was on the bench, Antero Niittymaki was in goal, and the Sharks were looking at adversity smack in the face.

Had the Kings won that game, as they likely should have, they would have taken a 2-1 lead in the best of series, but the hockey gods were on the Sharks’ side in that memorable contest. The comeback began when Patrick Marleau scored at 3:08 of the second period. San Jose made it a 4-3 game before Los Angeles again took a 2-goal edge. But then, two goals scored in rapid succession, at 18:35 and 19:29 of the second period, evened the score. In the third period, no one scored. The game went into overtime. The winner came at 3:09, when Devin Setoguchi ended one of the more unlikely comebacks in playoff history. The Sharks won, 6-5, and took a 2-1 series lead.

That series took six games to win, including three that went to overtime. This season’s series is not likely to be any different.

In last night’s Game 2, the Sharks fought back from a 2-0 deficit to take the 3-2 lead. They had that lead with three minutes to play, and it seemed as if there weren’t going to be any penalties called. Logan Couture was manhandled by Slava Voynov behind the Kings net, and play continued. But on the other side of the ice, penalties called to Brad Stuart for tripping and Marc-Edouard Vlasic for delay of game gave Los Angeles the power play opportunities they needed, and they converted.

Okay, so the Sharks are down, 0-2, in the series. The home team has won, as they did during the regular season series. Now, the action shifts back to HP Pavilion, where the fans will be screaming their heads off and where the Sharks are already focusing on winning Game 3.

It’s the only way to approach it. It’s how the defending Stanley Cup champions approached it when they lost the first two games of their first round series against the St. Louis Blues. Instead of allowing themselves to be swallowed up by the emotion of the disappointment, the Kings put their heads to the grindstone and ripped off four consecutive wins to capture the series. They accepted the challenge.

Now, the Sharks have the opportunity to do the same thing, and the only focus that they have is on Game 3. They have the opportunity to show that this is a different club than seasons past. Now, they can show Los Angeles their version of home ice advantage. Now is the time for all good Sharks fans to come to the aid of their hockey team.

It’s going to be intense, emotional, and a whole lot of fun. Don’t miss it!

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 82 41 38 23 79
J. Thornton 82 11 65 20 76
P. Marleau 82 33 37 0 70
L. Couture 65 23 31 21 54
B. Burns 69 22 26 26 48
T. Wingels 77 16 22 11 38
D. Boyle 75 12 24 -8 36
J. Demers 75 5 29 14 34
T. Hertl 37 15 10 11 25
M. Nieto 66 10 14 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Stalock 12 5 2 .932 1.87
A. Niemi 39 17 7 .913 2.39
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