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Joe Pavelski Knows The Hero Role

Big Playoff Goals Are Common For Pavelski

Friday, 04.15.2011 / 12:03 AM PT / News
By Tony Khing  - Staff Writer
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Joe Pavelski Knows The Hero Role
The play was total textbook. Any hockey coach who saw it would have a big smile on their face.

With 5:21 left in the first overtime of Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against Los Angeles, Kyle Wellwood got the puck in San Jose’s defensive zone and brought it up along the left wing. Ryane Clowe was pumping hard up the middle.

Deep in his defensive end, Joe Pavelski was pushing hard on his edges to get into the play. “I was just trying to catch up,” he said. “I definitely didn’t set any speed records.”

Clowe did the smart thing. Wellwood skated along the left wing with the puck and was being watched by Kings defenseman Matt Greene. So Clowe crashed the net and took Kings forward Wayne Simmonds with him. Simmonds had to hustle back on defense to cover for Greene’s defensive partner, Alec Martinez, who was deep in the Sharks end when the play started and was busy chasing Pavelski.

Meanwhile, Pavelski got into the Kings zone and was open by the right point. Wellwood saw Pavelski skate into the zone and get open. Pavelski got his pass, took the shot and scored his franchise record third overtime playoff winning goal as San Jose won, 3-2.

“Welly held on to it long enough and let me get there,” Pavelski said of Wellwood’s pass. “I got a pretty good lane to the net. Once you get a chance like that, you have to capitalize on your chances.”

“I had seen him pretty early on,” said Wellwood, who sounded like he was practicing the good hockey fundamental of seeing the play before it develops. “I was just waiting for him to get over the blueline and fortunately he made a good shot.”

What the Sharks did on that play was execute the perfect drive to the net. The puck carrier (Wellwood) scanned the ice ahead of time, skated along the wing to create space and time and patiently waited for Pavelski to get open. Meanwhile, Clowe provided Wellwood with another option by going hard to the net. Wellwood could’ve passed the puck to Clowe and hope for a deflection or a tap. Pavelski was the trailer, giving Wellwood a second option.

The final piece was Pavelski’s shot on Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. Pavelski’s wrist shot from near the top of the right circle beat his Team U.S.A. teammate from the 2010 Winter Olympics on the glove side.

“I was aiming,” Pavelski said. “It feels good to score.”

When it comes to clutch postseason goals, Pavelski more than knows the feeling of scoring. He potted the extra time winner in Game 4 of last year’s quarterfinal series against Colorado. And the first overtime goal he scored against Dallas in Game 5 of the 2008 semifinals is one of the most memorable in Sharks history. Pavelski now has seven game-winning playoff goals. Only Patrick Marleau (12) has more. In fact, Marleau and Pavelski had shared the club record for most overtime winners in postseason until Thursday night.

“We’d like not to have it in overtime,” Coach Todd McLellan said, “but Pavs has been a tremendous player for us. We count on him in so many different situations. He’s really recognized at this time of the year as a guy who elevates his play.”

However, Pavelski almost didn’t get the chance to score the big goal. He was getting ready to come off the ice for a line change. “I was checking behind me,” he said. “I may have looked a couple of times just to make sure no one was going to catch me. Once you saw you were in the clear and you get a chance like that, you have to stay on.”

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 82 37 33 12 70
L. Couture 82 27 40 -6 67
J. Thornton 78 16 49 -4 65
B. Burns 82 17 43 -9 60
P. Marleau 82 19 38 -17 57
T. Wingels 75 15 21 -7 36
T. Hertl 82 13 18 -5 31
M. Nieto 72 10 17 -12 27
M. Karlsson 53 13 11 -3 24
M. Vlasic 70 9 14 12 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 31 23 7 .914 2.59
A. Stalock 8 9 2 .902 2.62
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