The San Jose Sharks fired 31 shots on goal against Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Jeff Zatkoff through two periods, yet they found themselves down 2-1 heading into the final frame. They eventually out-gunned Pittsburgh in a wild final 20 minutes to take a 5-3 win on Thursday.
The most hectic stretch came when Patrick Marleau tied it up with a 2-2 shorthanded goal 5:18 into the third, only to see Olli Maatta score his second goal of the game to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 to lead about 21 seconds later. Brent Burns tied it up once more a minute and 13 seconds later to wrap up a string of three goals in less than two minutes:
Eventually Joe Thornton ended up notching the game-winner:
Burns iced the game with an empty-netter for his second tally of the night, giving the Sharks their first win after trailing by more than two goals after one period since (wait for it) they beat the Penguins 4-3 via a shootout on Nov. 3, 2011.
Many East Coast fans stayed up for the late start on NBCSN, and quite a few seem willing to do so if the two teams manage to meet in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski is one of those people, it seems:
OK we can stop the season now and just have these two play seven for the Cup thanks OK bye #Penguins#sharks
If that happens, it could be one of the most wide-open series in recent memory. Of course, a lot would have to go right for such a championship round to happen, yet a game like this makes the thought very enticing.
One of the driving forces behind the NHL’s growth over the last decade is moving on.
John Collins, who’s served as the league’s chief operating officer for the last seven years, will be leaving his post to embark on a new business opportunity.
More, from the League:
Collins, who joined the NHL in November 2006, had been COO since August 2008.
“John leaves a lasting mark,” said Commissioner Bettman. “His energy, creativity and skill at building strategic partnerships helped drive significant revenue growth for our League. We are grateful for his many contributions and wish him the best in his new endeavors.”
Said Collins, “I’m grateful to Commissioner Bettman for his leadership and friendship over the past nine years. He had a vision for extending the reach of the NHL and supported us completely as we set out to make the game as big as it deserves to be.
“The NHL’s future is filled with promise and potential and I will admire and cheer the League’s successes to come on the global stage.”
Collins, 53, was regarded as one of main presences behind a number of the NHL’s most successful initiatives, including the Winter Classic and Stadium Series, the HBO 24/7 collaboration, the relaunched World Cup of Hockey, Canadian and American television deals and partnerships with companies like SAP, Adidas, Major League Baseball Advanced Media and GoPro.
During Collins’ tenure, the NHL was twice named “Sports League of the Year” by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily — once in 2011, and again in 2014.
Columbus will have some reinforcements up front when it takes on the Devils tomorrow in New Jersey.
Brandon Dubinsky, who’s missed the last six games with an elbow injury, and Alexander Wennberg — who’s also missed the last six games, but with a foot ailment — have both been activated from injured reserve, and should be available for selection on Wednesday.
The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.
Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.
The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)