Talk about improbable outcomes. After being shut out for nearly 59 minutes, the Sharks salvaged one point Thursday night when Tomas Hertl scored with 65 seconds left in regulation, then earned a second point on an overtime goal by Dan Boyle for a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. "You hear hockey people talk about the hockey gods where it starts to even out," coach Todd McLellan said. "We weren't the better team tonight. We've been on the other end of that, where we were the better team and found a way not to win. Tonight, we found a way to come back." The Canucks outplayed the Sharks most of the night, but goalie Antti Niemi gave San Jose a chance for the last-minute heroics with a strong performance for his first win in his last six starts. "Nemo was sharp," McLellan said. "He looked comfortable in the net again and guys had some confidence when he was making those saves." The only one of 35 shots to get past Niemi was a bouncer from the blue line by Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa on a second-period power play. But it looked as if that one might be enough to doom the Sharks until their frantic finish that stunned the sellout crowd at Rogers Arena. Niemi was pulled in favor of an extra attacker with 1:20 left in the game and 15 seconds later that move paid off almost by accident. "I was going to shoot it and then kind of changed my mind at the very last second," Boyle said. "Obviously it spun off and went wide, and thank god Tomas was in the right place at the right time. That was just fortunate luck on my part." Hertl took the puck in the right faceoff circle and fired it into the net before Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo could get back in position. That goal pushed the game into overtime where the Sharks were able to take advantage of a hooking penalty against Henrik Sedin drawn by Jason Demers. During their five-game losing streak that ended 48 hours earlier in Calgary, the Sharks had a series of strange rulings go against them in overtime. So when a Boyle's 24-foot shot from the high slot bounced quickly out of the back of the net and was initially waved off, it looked like more of the same. But Boyle insisted the goal was good, and the officials eventually agreed. "I seemed sure," Boyle said. "I was very positive that it hit the camera and I would have been pretty shocked if I saw that wrong. A big two points." Because the Sharks were struggling on offense, McLellan mixed his lines throughout the game. Joe Pavelski, for example, centered Matt Nieto and Marty Havlat in the first period, John McCarthy and James Sheppard in the second and moved to wing on a line with Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau in the third.
San Jose Sharks save best for end, get overtime win
San Jose Mercury News | Nov 15