TAMPA — For Patrick Sharp, Saturday was a night to forget.
Or more specifically, a third period to forget.
The veteran forward took two crucial penalties in the final frame of tonight’s Game 2 loss of the Stanley Cup Final, with the second paving the way for Jason Garrison to score the Bolts’ game-winner.
“It was something I don’t think I’ve ever done before,” Sharp said of taking back-to-back penalties. “It happened. You move on from it.
“I take responsibility and apologize to our penalty killers for putting them under such stress.”
Sharp’s first infraction, a slash on Anton Stralman, was called shortly after Marian Hossa got away with interference on Ben Bishop for Chicago’s 3-3 goal early in the third period. While the ‘Hawks were able to kill that one off, they had no such luck with Sharp’s second infraction — a high-stick on Ryan Callahan.
“We were battling and I guess my stick came up and clipped him,” he explained. “I didn’t mean to do it. It happens. I’ll take responsibility.
“It’s tough to put your penalty kill in a situation like that.”
The Garrison goal was Tampa’s first on the power play in this series, after the Bolts went 0-for-2 with the man advantage in Game 1.
Chicago has, for the most part, done a good job of staying out of the box this postseason — averaging the fourth-fewest PIM per game of all 16 teams to make the dance — and that’s probably a good thing; the ‘Hawks are only killing penalties at a 75.9 percent clip in the playoffs, down from 83.4 in the regular season.
As for the legitimacy of his penalties — Stralman did go down somewhat easy on the slashing call — Sharp took the high road, and didn’t go anywhere near criticizing the officials.
“They made the calls,” he said. “I guess I gotta be less careless with my stick. I didn’t think I made too much contact on the first one.”
“But I’m not arguing with the call.”
Credit Patrick Sharp for waiting at dressing room stall for media to gather before taking responsibility for bad penalties. #Blackhawks
— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) June 7, 2015