The San Jose Sharks held the lead for most of Game 2 against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday. Then Ryan Kesler stepped up in the third period to give the Canucks a 2-1 edge.
With less than a minute left in the contest, it looked like that would be sufficient, but Patrick Marleau found the back of the net with 56 seconds to spare. Raffi Torres scored in overtime to give the sixth seed Sharks a 2-0 series lead.
That kind of clutch performance is in defiance of the Sharks’ history of falling short in the playoffs, but perhaps their past misses are part of what made this comeback possible.
“We’re a bunch of veterans,” Sharks’ captain Joe Thornton told NHL.com. “All of us have played in so many playoff games, the calmness is scary sometimes.”
Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle’s attempted pass near the midway point of the third period led to Kesler’s second goal, but Boyle shrugged that off and helped set up Marleau’s game-tying goal.
“We showed a lot of character and a lot of guts to come back,” Boyle said in a CSN Bay Area report. “A win is a win. It wasn’t pretty, and we were obviously on our heels after we had the one goal lead a little bit too much, but a win is a win.”
San Jose had a 17-2-5 record in the HP Pavilion this season. With the series heading there, Vancouver will have a very tough time turning things around.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.