There I was…sitting in HP Pavilion right before the shootout was about to commence, thinking to myself, “is tonight the night they lose? Is it possible that out of all teams, the Nashville Predators beat the San Jose Sharks?” I hoped not, but only time would tell.
The first period was a fast paced one, with back and forth hockey. Both teams had chances, but they just couldn’t capitalize. It was clear that the Sharks didn’t have the same skip in there step that they had in the beginning of the year, and were not starting games off with quick goals. After a scoreless first period, HP Pavilion, the crowd was silent, and hoped for a goal filled second period.
The second period was almost identical to the first, with the exception that the Sharks got a few more shots off than the Predators. Also, the play that changed the game happened in this period. Ryane Clowe took a shot from the side of the net, which hit the post. Everybody in the building (including me) was certain that the puck had crossed the goal line, and when I say everybody, that includes Martin Havlat. When the puck hit the post, Havlat thought it was in, and started to celebrate prematurely, only to find out that the puck was right between his skates two feet from the goal line. An easy goal opportunity that would have put his team up by one, wasted.
By the end of the second intermission, everybody wanted a goal. Ask and you shall receive right? There was a goal… but by the Predators. 59 seconds into the third period, Sergei Kostitsyn ripped a shot past Antti Niemi that was almost impossible to stop, given that there were screens all over the place, and the shot had a vapor trail behind it. Sharks fans, still mad at Martin Havlat and now craving a goal, are watching on the edge of their seats. Finally, with 6:21 left in the game, Havlat redeems himself, by ripping a backhand shot past Pekka Rinne. The third period ends, and we are headed to OT for a 3rd straight game.
Let’s skip to 2:48 into the OT period when a penalty was called. It was called vs the Sharks, specifically Havlat. On what appeared to be a phantom hook, the Sharks found themselves in a 4v3 situation for essentially the rest of the game. Let’s just say the Sharks survived, and received a Standing ovation from the crowd. Antti Niemi had his best save of the night, and the defense did what it had to do. They got down on the ice, and blocked at least 6 shots during those 2 long minutes.
When the horn that indicates the end of OT sounded, everybody in the stadium instantly had Déjà-Déjà-Déjà vu. For the third straight game, the Sharks found themselves in a shootout. Unfortunately, the Sharks couldn’t pull out a win, and had to settle for a point. The Sharks, who are still perfect in regulation, now head to Anaheim for a game vs the Ducks on Monday night.