The Sharks know what it takes to get there and they will have to be on top of their game. In talking to the press ahead of Game 1, Karlsson reflected on joining the team at the start of the season and how the Stanley Cup Final has always been in the team's sights.
Four minutes later, Joonas Donskoi put the Sharks up 3-1, setting up a tense third in which the Avalanche made things interesting thanks to a Tyson Jost goal 51 seconds in. So perhaps it's appropriate the Western Conference Final consists of two teams nobody thought would be here - the St. Louis Blues and the San Jose Sharks.
Perhaps supporting the Sharks will give the 49ers a bit of extra motivation to find the postseason themselves in 2019.
Just over two weeks after being helped off the ice while bleeding from his head in a Game 7 win in the first round against Vegas, Pavelski inspired the crowd and carried his team to another Game 7 victory.
"You know, you're nearly speechless", coach Peter DeBoer said.
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Pavelski was injured in Game 7 against the Golden Knights. The Sharks have just three with Couture's three goals all coming in a Game 3 win, Tomas Hertl's two coming in a Game 5 victory and Timo Meier scoring one of his two into an empty net.
The Sharks' offense is clicking on all cylinders in the playoffs, averaging more than 3.07 goals per game. You can have an injury like that and miss months, or have one and be back in a week. "We do have guys that have participated in them in the past".
Instead of a tie game, the Avs were in a two-goal hole. The Colorado Avalanche are no stranger to must-win games, and should feel very confident going into Game 7.
But at the end of the first period, the Avalanche cut into the deficit, with Mikko Rantanen scoring with a mere 6.8 seconds left on the clock.
The teams have played five times in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Sharks winning three of those series, including the most recent, the 2016 conference final, in six games. "'Get off the ice.' If I could have done something different on that play, I would have jumped the boards a lot quicker", he said (via ESPN.com).
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One more update: Here is the official explanation for the ruling on the play: "After reviewing all available replays and consulting with the Linesman, the Situaion Room determined that Gabriel Landeskog did not legally tag up at the blue line prior to the puck entering the offensive zone".
The Sharks then restored the two-goal lead later in the period when Donskoi skated around the net and beat Grubauer high to the short side for his first goal since January 10.
NOTES: The Sharks won multiple Game 7s in the same postseason for the first time in franchise history.
Just like at forward the Blues do not have quite the star power that the Sharks do on the blue line, but you cannot argue with the results they get.
The Blues season looked to be all but over as they sat in dead last for most of the season. The Avalanche again dressed seven defencemen and 11 forwards.
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