May 21, 2010, 10:35 PM EDT
Eastern Conference Finals, Game 3, End of Regulation
Blackhawks 2, San Jose Sharks 2
Blackhawks lead series
Towards the end of the third period it looked as thought the San Jose Sharks would fail, once again, to take advantage of every chance they earned and walk away with yet another painful loss to the Blackhawks. This time, that loss would mean a disastrous 0-3 series deficit heading into Sunday’s Game 4.
The Sharks grossly outshot the Blackhawks in the third, had three full power play chances, yet had failed to the puck past Antti Niemi. They continued to put all sorts of pressure on the Hawks, yet the best defensive team in the NHL was able to keep the attack to the perimeter and Niemi was able to easily track most pucks that came his way.
When Dave Bolland took an incredibly dumb tripping penalty just after the midway point in the period, the third penalty for the Hawks in the 3rd, it looked as if the Sharks would finally be able to take advantage. Of course, Niemi turned aside every shot he faced, and then fate would deliver a shot of sweet yet foul irony into the hearts of the Sharks.
Bolland, freshly out of the penalty box, scored on a nifty breakaway goal to give the Blackhawks the one-goal lead with just 7 minutes remaining.
Season over, right? The Sharks mail it in, right? After all, they fought their butts off in the 3rd yet were down a goal. Instead, the Sharks start crashing the net (something they had failed to do all game long) and tied the game with four minutes remaining in regulation.
Now we head to overtime. The season won’t be over for the Sharks with a loss, but they better believe it will be.
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