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Hockey tough: Pavelski barely misses time after scoring goal with face

The San Jose Sharks took the lead over the Vegas Golden Knights in unique and painful fashion as Joe Pavelski took a puck off his chin and had it bounce past Marc-Andre Fleury for the goal.

BREAKING: Hockey players are tough. Even when their faces might be getting broken.

With a bit more than five minutes remaining in the first period, Joe Pavelski scored one of the unluckiest goals you can imagine -- it went off of his face. That might have been funny for those making on-the-nose jokes about how great Pavelski is at scoring deflection goals, but it sure wasn’t funny for Pavelski, who immediately left for the locker room.

The Sharks entered the second period with concerns about both Pavelski and Timo Meier after late first-period potential injuries, and those concerns continued for Pavelski. While Meier was out right away, Pavelski was not.

And then you could see Pavelski on the bench less than two minutes into the second period, with a very much swollen face, and a full face shield.

It’s possible that both Meier and Pavelski might be a little banged-up for a while, yet they’re back in the lineup, so the Sharks can mostly breathe a sigh of relief. For Pavelski, it might literally hurt his mouth to breathe a sigh of relief right now, but he deserves a pat on the back.

Fittingly, despite appearing to miss teeth, he was right back in front of the net, where he does his damage -- and received that damage to his mouth. Hockey players are tough, and Pavelski is a tough hockey player.

Here’s the moment where Meier was banged up, but wasn’t sidelined for long:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.