Sometimes hockey isn’t a game of inches, but rather of tenths of seconds.
That’s ultimately the amount of time it took to distinguish a Philadelphia Flyers overtime win from what ended up being tonight’s result, a San Jose Sharks shootout win. It looked like Mike Richards scored that game winner, but after review it was clear that the clock hit 0.0 just before the puck cleared the red line. It’s about as close as you can possibly get to scoring a goal without scoring.
This isn’t the first time that the Flyers faced overtime heartbreak this season, although at least this time around it wasn’t a controversial call. If you may remember, Philadelphia looked like they won an overtime game against the Calgary Flames only to have the goal waved off when Chris Pronger was penalized for violating “The Avery Rule.”
It’s not the only reason the Flyers will look at this game as a match they should have won, though. After a Ryan Clowe goal gave San Jose a 1-0 lead, Philadelphia rattled off four straight goals (by Claude Giroux, Ville Leino, Nikolai Zherdev and Scott Hartnell) to take a 4-1 lead.
But in the first time in Sharks franchise history, the team ended up winning a game despite being down three goals in the third period. Jason Demers, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski scored to tie the game up. After that overtime period, Clowe and Couture scored shootout goals to help the Sharks earn an improbable win.
San Jose still has a ways to go, but they’ve won three of their last four games and are back in the thick of things in the wacky Western Conference at 32 points in 27 games played.
The Flyers have lost three shootouts in their last six games (2-1-3) and now find themselves three points and three wins behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the Atlantic Division lead with one game in hand.
Here is video of that almost-goal as part of the highlights package. Jump to around the 4:20 mark of this video to see just how close it really was.