Easter Sunday 2019 will live in the history books for San Jose’s hockey team. The hope is that it gets eclipsed with elation from the upcoming Game 7. But as for Game 6, it was a storybook thriller in all senses.
Here are some takeaways from a 2-1 double-overtime win, where franchise history was made on a couple of different fronts.
Jones saves the day
Martin Jones made 58 saves. That’s never been done in any Sharks game, regular or postseason. Ever. What a statement from a goalie who was put on the ropes after Games 3 and 4 in Las Vegas. Pulled in both, and not widely favored by critics to even be the starter in Game 5. But Pete DeBoer made the bold statement, and Jones has now responded twice. What he did the last time in San Jose is not a “one-off”, and if the series finale turns out to be a goalie battle, you have to feel good about the guy in Teal.
Tomas Hertl’s double-overtime, short-handed, game-winner… was also the first ever in Stanley Cup Playoff history.
It had been done before in single-overtime, but never after that. It was amazing to see Hertl fed with the puck and cross center ice seeming to lose some gas. Instead, he snapped one past Marc-Andre Fleury, and just like that, became the hero for a second straight game. He predicted a Game 7, during that interview after Game 5… and here we are.
Never in history had the Sharks been down in a series 3-1, and forced a seventh game. Until now. Sure, there’s a lot of work to be done for San Jose as it relates to advancing. But the way this series has played out in regard to momentum should clearly give them all the mental edge heading into Tuesday night. Las Vegas could have escaped the first round long ago, but now after missing on two opportunities, they have to come back to California again.
Feelin' it, stealin' it
The Sharks stole one, on Sunday. They got out-shot 59-29. They got out-drawn 56% to 44%. San Jose didn’t always start with the puck, or have the puck, and didn’t always dominate gameplay. But they did collapse in front of Jones and support their goalie with excellent net-front presence. It’s rare that the offense has a slow night, but they did, and fortunately, it wasn’t costly.
#TwoOrFewer lives on. The Sharks were 34-0 this season entering Sunday in games where they allowed two goals or fewer to the opponent. In fact, both their wins in this series had been earned that way, with respective 5-2 victories. But tonight, had Las Vegas won after regulation, it would have been their first loss while allowing two or fewer… and it would have also ended their season. Instead, the trend moves on to 35-0, and the thought has to be that if San Jose can win Game 7, it will largely be predicated on their play without the puck.