Sharks captain Joe Pavelski returned to the lineup for Game 7 of San Jose's second-round series against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night, his first action since suffering a gruesome head injury on April 23 against the Vegas Golden Knights.
While they couldn't take the ice with their Silicon Valley brethren, they did get the crowd fired up for the Sharks' walk out to take the ice. Pavelski was unable even to travel to Colorado for Games 3 and 4 but got back on the ice while his teammates were away last week.
The Sharks got a scare when, up 2-1 in the second period, Colin Wilson scored what looked like a game-tying goal on a attractive cross from Nathan MacKinnon. "The decision was made in accordance to Rule 83.3 (i), 'All players of the offending team clear the zone at the same instant (skate contact with the blue line) permitting the attacking players to re-enter the attacking zone". In Game 7 against Vegas, they scored four goals on the controversial five-minute major penalty to Eakin to erase a 3-0 deficit, and then won the game in overtime.
"It's a clumsy mistake, you know?" This sets up an exciting Game 7 where it will be interesting to see how different factors play out. In 128 career playoff games, he has 46 goals and 49 assists, including two goals and two assists in his seven games this postseason.
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Shortly after the goal was reversed, San Jose scored to go up 3-1.
That is where Jordan Binnington came in and ever since making his first NHL start in mid-January he has been one of the most productive goalies in the league.
Nothing has come easy for the San Jose Sharks this postseason. "If you do that, I think with the group that we have and the talent that we have in here, the end result is going to go our way".
Colorado lost star Nathan MacKinnon early in the first when his shoulder crashed into the boards, but his return late in the period helped spark the Avalanche.
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Instead of a tie game, the Avs were in a two-goal hole. "Many people in the building, a lot of them saw the injury".
Avalanche forward Colin Wilson appeared to score in the second period but was denied after an off-side challenge.
The officials/NHL determined that Gabriel Landeskog did not tag up at the blue line prior to the puck entering the offensive zone.
Colorado pushed hard in the third, getting a goal in the first minute from Jost, but the Sharks managed to hold on from there for the win.
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Colorado's top trio - MacKinnon, Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen, the other marksman in Game 7 - has a lot of prime years ahead, and Sam Girard and Cale Makar have proven at 20 that they are both blue-line blue-chippers. The San Jose Sharks have won eight of their last 11 games as a home favorite. Considering the Sharks finished two points ahead of the Blues in the standings, it stands to reason fans should expect another long series featuring a pair of clubs with plenty of experience.