Pavelski, Sharks even with St. Louis in Western Conference Finals
Portage County Gazette
By John Kemmeter
With a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals on the line, Plover native Joe Pavelski and the San Jose Sharks are tied 1-1 with the St. Louis Blues in their best-of-seven Western Conference Finals series, following a 4-2 St. Louis win in San Jose Monday, May 13.
After suffering a concussion in Game 7 of the first round in San Jose’s come-from-behind, 5-4 overtime victory over the Vegas Golden Knights April 23, Pavelski missed the first six games of the Sharks’ Western Conference Second Round series against the Colorado Avalanche, before he returned for the decisive Game 7 in San Jose Wednesday, May 8.
In his first game back after sitting out for more than two weeks, Pavelski scored 5:57 into the game to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead, and then assisted on a Tomas Hertl goal at 11:35 of the first period to increase the lead to 2-0.
Following a Colorado goal with seven seconds left in the first period to make it 2-1, Joonas Donskoi had a goal at 12:37 of the second period to put San Jose up 3-1, while Colorado scored 51 seconds into the third period to pull within 3-2.
However, San Jose held on for a 3-2 victory to win the series 4-3 and advance to the Western Conference Finals for the fourth time in Pavelski’s career.
“It was nice,” Pavelski said to NHL.com after the game. “I’m not going to lie. Come out, score early, get that shot of adrenaline, which was going since the drive in to the rink. The crowd was great…it was fun.”
“It was really a coin toss,” San Jose head coach Peter DeBoer told NHL.com of Pavelski’s return. “He obviously made the ultimate decision, and what an impact. What do you say? He’s a special player, special guy.”
The Sharks opened Game 1 of their Western Conference Finals series against St. Louis at home Saturday, May 11, where the game was tied 1-1, when Pavelski scored a power-play goal at the 11:24 mark of the first period to give San Jose the lead for good at 2-1.
The Sharks held on to a 5-3 advantage in the third period, when Pavelski assisted on a Logan Couture goal at 17:39 of the period to cap the scoring on San Jose’s 6-3 win that gave the team a 1-0 series lead.
In Game 2 Monday night, Couture had a pair of goals in a span of 1:59 in the second period to tie the game at 2-2, but St. Louis scored at 16:34 of the second period to take a 3-2 lead, then had a goal with 3:08 left in the regulation to close out a 4-2 win and even the series at 1-1.
Game 3 is set for 7 p.m. Central on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) Wednesday, May 15, with Game 4 at 7 p.m. Central on NBCSN Friday, May 17.
Game 5 will be at 2 p.m. Central on NBC Sunday, May 19, with Game 6 (if necessary) at 7 p.m. Central on NBCSN Tuesday, May 21, and Game 7 (if necessary) at 8 p.m. Central on NBCSN Thursday, May 23.