For oh so long, the Stanley Cup playoffs motto was “History Will Be Made,” with the inspiring music and memorable playoff moments playing in the background of the advertisement on your television set. While it might not be the kind of history every team dreams of when they think of history being made in the NHL postseason, the San Jose Sharks made franchise history Monday night with their 6-3 Game 5 win over the St. Louis Blues.
The victory marked the Sharks’ 11th win this postseason, the most wins ever achieved by a San Jose squad. And as the Sharks continue to swim into unknown waters, as a team that can look into the face of adversity and give it a right-handed uppercut to the jaw, they now find themselves with a 3-2 series lead over St. Louis and on the brink of their first Stanley Cup Final appearance … ever.
O Captain! My Captain!
With two goals and an assist on the night, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski led his team to a much-needed win. Pavelski had the game-tying goal late in the second period, making it 3-3, as well as the game-winning goal just 16 seconds into the third. The game winner came off a Brent Burns blast from the blue line, which Pavelski had no problem tipping under the glove of Blues goalie Jake Allen.
Pavelski now has a six-game point streak and is co-leading all NHL players in points this postseason with fellow teal man Logan Couture, both having 21.
Putting the ‘Power’ Back in Power Play
One big factor to this Sharks win was their ability to find the back of the net on the power play. In the previous two games against the Blues, San Jose went a lackluster 0-for-7 with the man advantage, which included going 0-for-5 in their 6-3 Game 4 loss on home ice. But the Sharks scored two power-play goals in the second period of Game 5, the first a beautiful mid-air bat by Joel Ward in the crease and the second being Pavelski’s game-tying goal.
If the Sharks hope to find similar success in Game 6, capitalizing on man advantages is going to be key, as well as staying out of the penalty box. The Blues took advantage of a Roman Polak roughing penalty in the second period, one that could have been avoided, when Robby Fabbri buried a slap shot under Martin Jones’ left leg.
It was an undisciplined penalty by Polak and a blown save by Jones, two little mistakes that ended up with a costly outcome, that being a go-ahead goal for the opposition. If the Sharks don’t want to have to lean too heavily on their power-play unit, avoiding these kinds of errors will be essential.
Writing Their Own Story
It was said before the start of the Los Angeles Kings series, and it should be said again now: this Sharks team is going to write their own story. But if they are going to write a new story, it will all come down to Wednesday night. If San Jose is able to shut the door on St. Louis in Game 6, it would not only prove that this Sharks team is unlike any other in this franchise’s 25-year history, it will rid the team of being seen only as one of the NHL’s biggest chokers.
Of course a victory Wednesday night would not guarantee any kind of success in the Final. But as so many Sharks fans have said in the past, and as so many will likely still say to this day – despite how painful it might be – just getting to the Final would be such an accomplishment in itself.