The Vegas Golden Knights were cruising through the first 50 minutes of their Game 7 against the Sharks on Tuesday night, and then Joe Pavelski started bleeding on the ice. The Knights were up 3-0 and had completely sucked the life out of San Jose’s crowd, but with 10:47 remaining, a major cross-checking penalty on Cody Eakin sent the Sharks forward Pavelski down to the ice, and sent the Knights down a man for five long minutes. Pavelski’s injury kicked off 28 minutes of heart-stopping Game 7 hockey, and when the dust cleared, the Sharks had won 5-4 and advanced to the second round.
The controversy that you won’t hear the end of this summer, which is clear on this video, is that the refs don’t actually signal for a penalty until after they see how bad Pavelski is damaged. Not that it matters now, because nothing was the same after that freaky play. The Sharks got revenge for Pavelski by becoming unstoppable on that power play. First it was Logan Couture who scored and gave the team some hope, and then it was Tomas Hertl, and then it was Couture again to tie. And then, with four minutes gone on the man advantage, Kevin Labanc captured the lead by firing a wrister past Marc-Andre Fleury, completing one of the most bonkers comebacks imaginable. Here are all four goals:
But even though the Knights looked dead when they whiffed on their own power-play opportunity with four minutes remaining, Jonathan Marchessault prolonged the franchise’s fairytale for just a little longer and got the recovery goal they so badly needed with just 47 seconds to spare.
Overtime was 18 minutes of good chances and no goals, but just when it looked like the teams were headed to another double-overtime game, it was Barclay Goodrow, of all people, who emerged as the hero. Goodrow played all of 7:26 in the entire game, but with 1:41 left in the extra period, the rested skater slipped by an exhausted Brayden McNabb and put the winning puck past a stretched-out Fleury from point-blank range.
Unbelievably, the Sharks have come back from the 3-1 series deficit, risen from near-certain death in Game 7, and now they’ll go up against the Colorado Avalanche next.